Zuraida Kamaruddin accepted responsibility for the appointment of private lawyer Syazlin Mansor to represent her Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Fire & Rescue Department for the death inquest of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
“As part of the government, normally we would have to take lawyers that are suggested by the AGC. So there was a bit of a mistake on my part (when appointing Syazlin without AGC’s approval).
“So we are correcting that. But we asked that what Syazlin had done must not be set aside, and have to be adopted 100 per cent.
“The same goes for (her) witness Dr Shahrom (Abdul Wahid). So on the part of his testimonies, nothing changed. The DPP will just follow (through),” Zuraida said.
She also explained that she had not been advised that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) must handle such appointments as it involved the government.
“I did the appointment directly on my own and, throughout the inquest, no one raised any issues so I thought everything was okay.
“So, now we have to make things right,” she told reporters.
Zuraida also gave assurance that a new deputy public prosecutor (DPP) will be appointed prior to the next inquest hearing date on June 26.
She said she has asked the AGC to suggest several senior DPPs to replace Shazlin, adding that she will have the final say on the appointment of the DPP.
Shazlin had represented the Ministry, the Fire and Rescue Department and Adib’s family for the inquest.
A private lawyer and the wife of Zuraida’s press secretary, Syazlin abruptly withdrew from the inquest on May 27, stunning the public and sparking rumours of a conspiracy.
Zuraida had said then that her withdrawal was due to a conflict of interest.
Accused of interference, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas was forced to publicly explain the conflict of interest in the engagement of a private lawyer to represent the government while also acting for Adib’s family.
Thomas also said Syazlin had taken a position contrary to federal counsel acting for the government during the inquest, causing confusion.