KUALA LUMPUR: There have been attempts to disrupt the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, claims lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who has decided to continue representing the deceased fireman's family.
She withdrew from the inquest on May 27 and was representing the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Fire and Rescue Department and Muhammad Adib's family.
Announcing her return as the lawyer for Muhammad Adib's family at a press conference on Wednesday (June 12), Syazlin said that attempts to disrupt the inquest started after the expert she brought in – retired pathologist Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid – posited a different theory on how the fireman sustained his fatal injuries.
Dr Shahrom's theory differed from the one presented by forensics expert Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi, who conducted the post-mortem on the fireman's body.
Dr Shahrom's theory was that Muhammad Adib could have been forcefully pulled out from the Fire and Rescue Department's Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van he was in as several persons were kicking the door, resulting in his injuries.
Dr Ahmad Hafizam, however, ruled that the fireman's injuries were inconsistent with an assault.
Syazlin's withdrawal came after Attorney General Tommy Thomas sent a letter to the Ministry on May 23, asking for her appointment to be revoked.
One of the reasons given by Thomas was that her act of representing the Ministry, the Fire and Rescue Department and the family of Muhammad Adib could bring about a conflict of interest.
Thomas also said Syazlin also often contradicted the position taken by the deputy public prosecutors (DPPs) handling the inquest, which has brought about "embarrassment" in her capacity as the lawyer representing the Ministry.
"I wouldn't want to pinpoint who interrupted the inquest, but there have been attempts to interrupt the inquest," Syazlin told reporters gathered at Majlis Perundingan Melayu office here.
She said she wanted to clear the air on the issues arising from her sudden withdrawal from the inquest, especially regarding Thomas' claim about the possibilty of conflict of interest.
"During the case management for the inquest on January 18, I informed the coroner's court that I would be representing all three.
"There was no objection from the inquest's conducting officer at the time," she said, adding that the first she heard of an objection was when the AG sent a letter to the Housing Ministry on May 23.
Syazlin questioned Thomas' decision to only raise the issue of her appointment in May.
"I find it strange that issues of conflict of interest and my appointment were suddenly raised when I started to question the theory of the experts from the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (HKL) and brought in Dr Shahrom to assist with the inquest," she added.
The experts from HKL are Dr Ahmad Hafizam and HKL Forensic Department head Datuk Dr Mohd Shah.
Syazlin also objected to Thomas using her husband's job with Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin as another reason to ask for her withdrawal from representing the ministry and the Fire and Rescue Department.
"What is the Attorney General implying when he tried to relate (my representation of the two parties) to my husband's job?
"I believe there is a malicious intent to smear the good name of me and my husband," she added.
Syazlin's husband Ahmad Soffian Mohd Shariff has since resigned as Zuraida's press secretary.
Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, who was at the press conference, claimed that unimportant reasons were used by the AG in asking Syazlin to withdraw.
"Are there other facts that (the AG) does not want to be raised during the inquest?" asked Zainul.