SHAH ALAM: The Inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim (pix) began this morning with Subang Jaya district traffic chief DSP Mohd Nasir Rahman being called to the stand at 10.30am.
Nasir started by explaining that his role was to conduct investigations into accidents.
He was then asked by DPP Hamdan Hamzah of his whereabouts on Nov 26, 2018.
Nasir replied that he was at the district police headquarters when he received a call about traffic congestion at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ5, Subang Jaya.
Muhammad Adib was killed in the riots at the temple.
Nasir said that he was informed of a vehicle on fire near the temple about 20m before reaching the USJ toll plaza after which he instructed his men to close the road and divert traffic to Shah Alam and Puchong.
Nasir then said there were 3,000 to 5,000 people, believed to be Indians, in front of the temple.
Nasir said at 1am, he instructed Inspector Azmi Io to call the Fire and Rescue Department to the scene.
When the firemen arrived, he said he saw someone throwing an object to the front windscreen of the fire engine, causing it to shatter.
“I was about 80m to 100m from where both the fire engine and EMRS vehicle were located.”
“The truck, which was in front, was surrounded by a lot of people. When the truck got hit by the object, the driver reversed the vehicle.”
“He then went in front and reversed the vehicle again before leaving the scene.”
“When the truck reversed, it knocked into the back of the EMRS vehicle.”
DPP Hamdan asked if Nasir saw the back of the fire engine from where he was located at the junction near the temple.
Nasir replied negatively.
The DPP then asked Nasir how long the incident went on for.
Nasir replied that it went on for around 10 to 15 minutes.
To the DPP’s question on how many people were in the fire engine, Nasir said there were many.
Nasir was then asked if he had seen movement in the fire engine, to which he replied no.
Adib’s family lawyer Yayaha Othman asked Nasir what was the group in front of the temple doing.
He replied that they were “standing around”.
Nasir was then asked if the crowd was aggressive, to which he said things turned aggressive only after the object was thrown at the fire engine.
The Inquest now calls fireman Rizal Mohd Noor to the stand.
Rizal was asked by DPP Hamdan of his role in the Fire and Rescue Department.
He explained that he is a driver attached to the Subang Jaya Fire Station, and that he has been with the department since 2001.
The DPP then asked if he was one of the firemen at the Seafield temple on Nov 26 last year.
Rizal confirmed that he was.
Lawyer Yahaya Othman asked if Nasir had seen fire personnel exiting the fire engine and EMRS vehicle. Nasir said he did not.
When Yahaya asked what Nasir did after the fire engine was hit by the object, he said he informed the command centre about the incident.
“During the incident, another officer and I tried to approach the crowd, but there were too many people.
“We tried to enter the area, but due to safety concerns, as we were not equipped to handle the situation, we didn’t go in.
“We only controlled traffic in the area.”
Nasir said that he and the officer saw what happened to the fire engine, but did not see firemen getting bashed up.
The inquest next heard the testimony of fireman Md Elliza Mohd Noor.
Md Elliza was asked by DPP Hamdan about his role in the Fire and Rescue Department.
He explained that he is a driver attached to the Subang fire station and that he has been with the department since 2001.
The DPP then asked if he was one of the firemen at the Seafield temple on Nov 26 last year. Md Elliza confirmed that he was.
Hamdan asked Md Elliza if he had received instructions after the fire engine came under attack.
He replied saying that his supervisor, Badrul, told them not to exit the vehicle.
The DPP asked if anyone did.
Md Elliza said he did not notice if firemen Adib and Sharul had exited the vehicle during the commotion.
“All I heard was repeated shouts of ‘Don’t put out the fire’.”
The DPP asked Md Elliza what he did during the commotion.
He said that when the windscreen shattered, he got scared and reversed the fire engine.
“There were so many people shouting. I was afraid that the object would break the windscreen.”
He said the fire engine was also hit by a sepak takraw pole and helmets.
Md Elliza said the fire department received a call at 1.03am and personnel deployed to the temple arrived at 1.12am.
He said he parked the fire engine about 10m to 15m away from the burning car.
“My role that day was as a driver and pump operator.
“I couldn’t perform my duties because about 50 people approached the truck when we arrived. They told us not to put out the fire.
“Then I heard a knock on the windscreen. People were throwing stones.”
The inquest resumed with Elliza continuing his testimony.
DPP Hamdan asked him on what had happened when the crowd started throwing stones.
He replied that he was afraid and felt threatened.
“I wanted to save my life. I reversed carefully so that I wouldn’t damage the fire engine,” he said.
When the DPP asked Elliza if he knew that the EMRS vehicle was behind the fire engine, he replied in the affirmative.
The DPP then asked if he felt anything after reversing the fire engine.
Eliza said that he heard something that sounded like a knock, but did not feel anything.
The DPP asked if Elliza had hit other vehicles, and he replied that there were cars parked at the side and the fire engine was still under attack when he was reversing.
“I saw three people running on the left side of the truck.
“I couldn’t see all that was happening because the left mirror was slightly bent.”
Elliza was asked by the DPP what vehicles were at the back of the fire engine and he replied that they were the EMRS vehicle, a taxi and another vehicle.
“The taxi left the scene, and then, I reversed the truck, and the EMRS vehicle was to my left.
“I gave way to the EMRS vehicle to leave the scene.”
The DPP questioned Elliza on what the firemen did after leaving the scene.
He replied saying that both the fire engine and EMRS vehicle headed to the USJ8 police station.
He added he heard Sharil, the driver of the EMRS vehicle, telling the supervisor, Badrul, that Adib was not in the vehicle.
DPP Hamdan asked Elliza if he checked the two vehicles for damage at the police station.
He said no one did as they were too busy trying to get a hold of Adib’s whereabouts.
“We called him several times, but there was no answer.
“Twenty minutes later, someone called and said he was taken to Subang Jaya Medical Centre(SJMC),” Elliza said.
He added that his supervisor had then instructed them to go to SJMC and check on Adib.
“I left SJMC at 6pm and drove the fire engine back to the station. That’s when I checked the vehicle.”