The Cabinet has decided it will establish a special committee to investigate the 2018 death of firefighter Adib Mohd Kassim and a task force to look into allegations made by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas in his book, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”.
In a statement, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Cabinet had also agreed to set up a task force to review laws relating to the Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh sovereignty dispute.
He said that these matters were decided upon in a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“The three committees agreed upon by the Cabinet will be given a period of six months to obtain findings and recommendations that will be presented for follow-up action,” Ismail said.
On the Adib case whereby the firefighter died after he sustained injuries while responding to a riot near a temple in Selangor, Ismail said the committee would ensure a “thorough, transparent and proper investigation” is carried out.
In 2019, the Coroner’s Court ruled that “more than two unidentified persons” had inflicted injuries that resulted in the firefighter’s death, but no suspects were charged.
The committee will be chaired by law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and will include home minister Hamzah Zainudin, housing and local government minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican, and attorney-general Idrus Harun.
Ismail said investigations into Thomas’ book would look into allegations such as “abuse of power in judicial appointments, executive interference in the judiciary, selective and politically-motivated prosecutions, and breaches in the oath of secrecy.”
The task force will be chaired by a former chief justice who will be appointed in the near future. The legal affairs division of the Prime Minister’s Department will also be involved while the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will act as the secretariat.
The task force to look into laws relevant to the Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh case will study and scrutinise available options and will seek inputs from international legal experts, he said.
The task force will be chaired by former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.
“The Cabinet has also decided to seek preliminary legal views on legal action under the ‘Tort of Misfeasance’ against any party found to have committed negligence and error as a result of not proceeding with the application for review and interpretation,” Ismail said.
The case stemmed from a territorial dispute over several islets at the eastern entrance to the Singapore Straits, namely Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.
The dispute began in 1979 and was largely settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2008, which decided that Pedra Branca belonged to Singapore, Middle Rocks belonged to Malaysia, and sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located.
In June 2017, Malaysia applied to the ICJ to request for an interpretation of the 2008 judgement, “as it would serve as a basis for the maintenance of orderly and peaceful relations between the two countries in the management of their respective maritime zones and airspace in the future,” Apandi was reported to have said at the time.
However, this application was withdrawn in May 2018 after Pakatan Harapan took over Putrajaya following its victory in the 14th general election (GE14). – FMT