R Narresh, the ninth witness for the inquest into the death of firemen Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, made a heartfelt plea in the Coroner’s Court asking the public to stop the negative speculation on social media.
Narresh said that as a witness, his task and that of other witnesses during the inquest, was only to tell the court what they saw and heard during the commotion near the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in the early morning of Nov 27 last year.
“On social media, there are many negative comments (about witnesses).
“I am not trying to paint a bad picture of any group,” he said, after asking judge Rofiah Mohamad, who sits as coroner for the inquest, permission to speak about the matter.
Responding to threats and attacks against him on social media after he testified in the inquest into the death of Adib last Friday, R Narresh, 30, said today he hoped people would see that his main intention was to save a person’s life.
“I did my best to save Muhammad Adib,” he said, adding that like other Malaysians, he wanted justice for the fireman.
Narresh, a Civil Defence Force trainee, said that he was just trying to do his duty as a Malaysian by telling the truth.
“I am not here to put anyone down, nor am I here to blame anyone.
“I am here just to help Muhammad Adib and I hope the message gets across.
“I was thinking why would someone do this to a fireman who is here just to carry out his duties,” said Narresh.
He also detailed how he encouraged a friend, eighth witness to the inquest S Suresh, to come forward and give his statements to police, telling him that justice needs to be served for the late fireman.
“One person has already suffered, so we need to get justice for him, so I told Suresh not to be scared and lend his moral support to Muhammad Adib,” he said.
Narresh also expressed regret that he was unable to meet Muhammad Adib after the incident.
“I feel broken, I had hoped that he (Muhammad Adib) would have regained consciousness and I would have been able to meet him,” Narresh said, adding that he was the one who comforted Adib on the way to Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC).
“I couldn’t meet him after sending him to the hospital that night, then I was not allowed to see him when he was in IJN (National Heart Institute), and even his funeral I missed.
Narresh said he had travelled for 12 hours by train, bus, and car to try and attend Adib’s funeral in Alor Setar, but by the time he arrived, the funeral was over.
“I did not know anyone there…when I arrived at the village, people were looking at me strangely,” he recalled.
Narresh told the court that he went to the scene that night with six other friends, following a Facebook post on incidents at the temple.
It was when he was looking for his friends amidst the commotion that he saw Suresh walk out from the crowd.
“He told me that a fireman has been beaten up (anggota bomba kena pukul).
“I then went into the crowd to see what was happening, and saw a fireman seated while leaning on the side of a car,” he said, adding that the fireman was still in his uniform at that time.
Narresh said the firefighter was surrounded by a crowd of about 10 to 15 people who were mostly taking photos and videos.
He also heard people saying in Tamil “they even want to beat up firemen (anggota bomba pun nak pukul)”, he said.
He said that he went near the fireman and asked the crowd around him to give the fireman space to breathe.
“I told them, don’t go too near, give him space to breathe, and I went to find a vehicle (to take the fireman to a hospital), he added.
Narresh said he left to find someone who could take the firefighter to a hospital but failed the first time.
He then ran back to check on the firefighter the second time and found a larger crowd of 20 to 30 people, and that the firefighter was left only with his camouflage pants.
At that point, Narresh said he instructed about six to seven people to lift the firefighter while he ran ahead again about 200m from the scene.
He said that he managed to flag down a Mitsubishi Storm 4WD that was making a U-turn near the area, who was willing to assist him to help take the injured and unconscious fireman to the nearest hospital.
Narresh said that it was only in the car that he was able to get a closer look at the condition the fireman was in.
“His eyes were closed, and he did not speak. All I could think of was protecting his head,” he said.
It was while they were on the way to the hospital that he started cleaning the fireman’s body.
And it was then that he noticed that the fireman’s right side of the body was swollen.
“I saw that the right side of his ribs was swollen (lebam). It was noticeable, you can see that it was reddish as he had fair skin.
“I (also) saw that there was sand on his body and a shoe print on the right side of his ribs,” he said, adding that he then wiped the area clean.
He said that he also tried to speak to the fireman all the way to the hospital, even though the fireman was unresponsive, and his pulse was weakening (menurun).
“I said, ‘there are people waiting for you, be strong’. I wanted to give him moral support,” he added.
He was also the one who answered the fireman’s mobile phone, which was ringing nonstop, as the fireman’s team members were trying to reach him.
Narresh said that he stayed at SJMC until he was able to pass the fireman’s mobile phone to the fireman’s brother, Mohd Ashraf Mohd Kassim.
The 10th witness in the inquest, Mohd Hafisan Nordin, 33, who drove Narresh and Adib to the Subang Jaya Medical Centre that night, also gave his testimony today.
The former military medical assistant told the court that he helped the firefighter and sent him to hospital despite the threat to his life.
Hafisan said he was filling up his four-wheel drive vehicle when he heard cries for help at the nearby Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
“I saw a group of people carrying a man and seeking help from passing vehicles, but no one stopped,” he said.
Hafisan said he was warned by a woman not to go near the site.
He said he initially hesitated as he feared for his life.
“However, I drove to the scene as I wanted to help the fireman.
“I came down from my car and helped them carry the victim onto the rear section of my car before I drove off to the hospital.
“There were bruises I could see on the right side of his body, looked like they were inflicted by a hard and blunt object.
“From my experience, my assumption is the injuries could have even been inflicted from someone’s hand or a hard shoe sole,” he told the court today.
“I tried calling him ‘abang, abang’ but he did not respond,” he added.
Hafisan also explained how Narresh had approached at least three other cars before asking him for help to ferry the injured fireman to hospital.
Adib, 24, was critically injured when he and his teammates from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the temple.
He was taken to SJMC before being transferred to the National Heart Institute (IJN) for further treatment.
He passed away on Dec 17 at 9.41pm at IJN.
The inquest, which was held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court, was on its sixth day today.
The inquest continues tomorrow at 10am where the 11th witness is expected to take the stand.