SHAH ALAM: Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) unit head ASP Shuhaimi Yaakub said that his team did not receive any instructions to act during the riots at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple during the night of Nov 26 and into the early morning of Nov 27 last year.
ASP Shuhaimi, who was the 21st witness called to the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, said that he and his team of two officers and 60 personnel arrived at the vicinity of the temple on the night of Nov 26 and was told to be on standby.
ASP Shuhaimi told the coroner’s court yesterday that the standard operating procedure (SOP) for FRU units, as a backup unit, was to wait for instructions.
Under questioning by DPP Hamdan Hamzah from the Attorney General’s Chambers, ASP Shuhaimi said that the instruction for his team that night was to report to the Subang Jaya district police chief.
ASP Shuhaimi said that earlier his team had faced difficulties in reaching the area.
“Apart from (being blocked) by vehicles owned by members of the public, there was a crowd who were assembled on the roads in front of the temple,” he said.
He said that following the instruction given, he tried to contact higher command for what action to take next.
“I contacted the operations room of IPD Subang Jaya to get the number of the field officer (at the scene).
“I then contacted the field officer DSP Mohamad Nasir Drahman (who was the first witness to the inquest) but he gave no instruction,” he said.
He said that after consulting with other officers from another FRU unit who were there, he tried contacting the Subang Jaya district police chief.
“I tried to contact the police chief but I couldn’t reach him but I did manage to contact his deputy and was instructed to standby in the area,” he said.
He said that his unit and the other unit at the scene went on standby.
When asked by Hamdan whether that was the SOP, ASP Shuhaimi said yes, adding that as a backup unit the power to give instructions lies with the district police headquarters.
When asked to describe the events that night he said that while he was at the scene he heard the siren from the Fire and Rescue Department’s fire truck coming from the neighbourhood near the temple.
“I saw the vehicles (fire truck and EMRS van) and a group of people were running from the temple towards the vehicles.
“I heard a lot of noise and then saw the vehicles suddenly reverse and then the vehicles were gone,” he said.
When asked by lawyer Yahya Othman, who was representing Muhammad Adib’s family, on what he did next, ASP Shuhaimi said that the officer from the other FRU unit tried to get instructions on what action to take.
“The instruction was still to be on standby,” he added.
Yahya: There was no other choice?
ASP Shuhaimi: No, as we were only the backup unit.
When asked by lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who was representing the Housing and Local Government Ministry, whether FRU units were required to wait for instructions before every single action, ASP Shuhaimi said yes.
Syazlin: If that night, FRU units were attacked, would you still just be on standby?
ASP Shuhaimi: For your information, even if our vehicles were attacked, we need to report and wait for instructions before taking action. Even if we were attacked, we can take action only on the individuals who were attacking us.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad sits as coroner for the inquest, which was on its 14th day yesterday. The inquest, held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court, continues today.