SHAH ALAM: A witness says a group of men attacked his car after it was caught in the middle of the riots at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple in the early morning of Nov 27 last year.
This was the same group which attacked the Fire and Rescue Department vehicles at the site a few minutes earlier, said witness Chan Wei Jie, who was inside the car at the time.
Chan, however, said that several individuals from the group later apologised to him and the family friend who was driving the car, and asked them to lodge a police report.
He is the 19th witness to be called to the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, which is on its 12th day of hearing on Friday (March 1).
Chan said that he and the family friend were in the area at around 1.15am as they were driving towards his house in USJ 12 from USJ 16.
He said that the car was parked in the middle of Jalan Usaha as traffic was at a standstill.
It was then that he saw the flashing lights of the Fire and Rescue Department's fire truck, he said.
“Then I heard the sound of cars crashing (into each other).
“The next thing I saw was the fire truck reversing, and some guys with long sticks started hitting the fire truck.
“I assumed that the (driver of the) truck was in a panic, as it reversed towards us and hit my car,” said Chan.
Under questioning from DPP Faten Hadni Khairuddin, who is on the three-member team from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Chan said that the car he was in became the focus of the group after the Fire and Rescue Department vehicle left the site.
Faten: What happened after that?
Chan: Then people started surrounding my car. Some were chasing the fire truck and some surrounded my car.
Faten: So what did they do to your car?
Chan: At first they were asking us to stop our car, as in, stop the engine. The reason they said that was because uncle (the family friend) was trying to start the car. There were several people who were telling us to leave at the same time.
Faten: From the same group?
Chan: Yes, same group. I then got out of the car as there was debris (after the car windows were shattered). I then stood at the side of the road.
Faten: While you were doing this, where was your uncle?
Chan: Still in the car. And people were shouting at my uncle, saying different things. Some were saying ‘jalan (go)’, some were saying 'stop and come down (berhenti dan turun)'.
Faten: Other than shouting, did they do anything to the car?
Chan: At first no, they just surrounded and shouted at us but after my uncle continued to start the car they started hitting the car with their bare hands and sticks.
Chan said that a man also climbed on the car's bonnet and started to jump on it.
It was then that the family friend decided to get out of the car, he said, adding that they could only watch helplessly at the group hitting their car.
“After I started to communicate with uncle, one of them asked everyone to stop,” he said.
Faten: Why did they suddenly stop when you started to communicate?
Chan: I had no idea but we were speaking in Mandarin.
Faten: When they heard you speaking in Mandarin, they stopped hitting the car?
Chan said that by that time, the car was already damaged, with all its windows and lights having been broken, while its front bonnet and bumper had been dented.
He said that after the group stopped attacking the car, three individuals from the group helped Chan and the family friend get back into the car.
He said that the family friend managed to start the car and they drove off.
“All our windows were broken by then, so when we were leaving the scene they were able to communicate with us.
“Most of them said sorry and some of them asked us to go straight to police station,” Chan said, adding that he and the family friend drove straight to the USJ 8 police station after the fracas.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad sits as coroner for the inquest, which is being held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.
The inquest will continue on March 19.
Muhammad Adib, 24, was critically injured when he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple where riots were happening last November.
He was taken to Subang Jaya Medical Centre before being transferred to the National Heart Institute (IJN) for further treatment.
He died at IJN on Dec 17, at 9.41pm.