It is outrageous for Reezal Merican Naina Merican, the Housing and Local Government Minister, to give an assurance that a special committee’s investigations would lead to the arrest of suspects in the case of the death of the late firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
It is outrageous because the ‘investigations’ have hardly started, and Reezal has preempted the findings of the ‘special committee’ set up by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. How is he so sure the special committee (which does not include the police or the pathologists) will find the “more than two” unidentified persons that the coroner’s court said had perpetrated the “criminal” act?
At a press conference on 7 August 2020, then-Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador told reporters that a new inquest would be held into Adib’s death with new witnesses coming forward to give their statements. He also urged those claiming Adib had been beaten up during the riots at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple to come forward.
Hamid clearly tells the press that statements taken so far had failed the test of credibility and that “kita dapat ‘detect’ pembohongan” (we were able to detect lies). Who were the people who had lied to the police and why?
Is Reezal saying the police under Hamid had not carried out proper investigations or that the police had tried to cover up for the assailants for reasons known to the police?
Readers, please watch the video of Hamid’s press conference and draw your own conclusions. To me, his demeanour and body language show he is being straightforward and honest about what he is telling the press.
So now, a political special committee is set up to do what the police could not do – find the “murderers” and charge them to satisfy those baying for their blood.
Why is a new inquest not being held, as Hamid had recommended? This will be open to the public, and no issue of ‘fixing’ the findings could be raised.
What are the terms of reference of the political special committee? Will it be conducting hearings open to the public or meetings behind closed doors?
Will it be calling the Hospital Kuala Lumpur pathologist and grilling him on his evidence that the injuries were not caused by assault? If he lied to the coroner’s court, he should be charged with perjury. If this is not done, the promised ‘findings’ of the special political committee to get some people arrested will be a blatant injustice in disregard for the rule of law.
The political special committee is not the proper body to “investigate” Adib’s case. The PM is playing politics in setting up this special committee, probably in view of the coming general election.
For an above-board investigation, Hamid’s recommendation to hold a fresh inquest should be carried out. Why is this not being done if there is nothing to hide, if there is no sinister motive for the special committee’s investigations to lead to the arrest of “suspects”, as assured by minister Reezal?