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Adib’s case: Tommy Thomas should not manipulate facts

MACSA and PPMM view the writing by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, regarding the series of incidents that resulted in the death of the late Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim as manipulating the actual facts established by the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court on September 27, 2019.

Thomas in his memoir ‘My Story: Justice in the Wilderness’ has said, among other things, that:

i. The injuries suffered by Adib was when the fire engine was reversing, “pushing backward the vehicle Adib was travelling in. Adib was apparently trying to reenter his car when he was pinned down. It was therefore an accident”.

ii. the findings of coroner Rofiah Mohamad are extraordinary because the police have informed Thomas that the possibility of foul play has been set aside as the cause of Adib’s death.

iii. Thomas was shocked to learn mid way that lawyer Syazlin Mansor also represented the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the Fire and Rescue Department and therefore, contacted the minister Zuraida Kamaruddin to request that Syazlin’s appointment as a representative be revoked.

However, the the actual facts and realities as established in the findings of the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court, are as follows:

1) Adib was in the emergency vehicle of the Emergency Services Assistance Unit (EMRS) behind the fire engine;

2) From testimonies and evidence of the video recording, Adib was in the EMRS van when the van and the fire engine were attacked by rioters;

3) The van was reversing and Adib was in the front passenger seat assisting the driver of the van by looking in the side mirror. It was at this point of time that Adib was pulled out of the van by rioters;

4) By the time Adib was pulled out, more than one rioter had kicked hard towards the door of the van causing Adib’s ribs to be damaged;

5) The mob then hurled Adib towards the the reversing van/ the edge of the passenger door causing multiple fracture of his backbone;

6) A day or two before the death of Adib, he was able to speak clearly and had confessed to the staff in the intensive care unit who took care of him that he had been pulled out and beaten. A similar matter was also informed to the head of the station where Adib was on duty when he visited Adib on that day.

There is no reason whatsoever why the late Adib would lie.

Further, Thomas as the Attorney General also knew of Syazlin’s appointment since the first day of his appointment. He did not take any action until Syazlin’s action was against Thomas’ stand during the inquest.

Thomas’ autobiography has thus distorted and manipulated the facts of the case and allowed a widespread dissemination of falsehood without regards to the sacrifice of life by a national hero.

MACSA and PPMM are concerned that Thomas’ failure to state the real facts will devalue the contribution of our frontliners who sacrifice their life daily in order to maintain our national sovereignty and security. In fact, the events that resulted in the death of Adib will be etched as a black mark in our history of harmonious relationship between various religions and races.

The reality is that Adib was killed while on duty as a member of the EMRS Unit, Fire and Rescue Station (BBP) Subang Jaya in the racial riots at the Sri Mariamman Temple. His death was marred by racial polemics when certain parties covered up and distorted the actual facts so that a need arose to conduct an inquest to investigate the cause of his death.

The whole inquest process then proceeded in an orderly manner and it would be a futile effort if Thomas is allowed to continue to manipulate facts in his memoirs.

Thomas as the Attorney General should have known that the information received from the police is not conclusive compared to the discovery of facts by the coroner who had gone through the legal process of proving the matter in court. It is egregious that he now relied solely on the police information.

MACSA and PPMM thus invite all parties, including Thomas as former Attorney General to respect not only the inquest decision made by the Coroner Court but more importantly, the sacrifice of the life of a young man who until now has not been served with justice.

MACSA and PPMM urged the Government to reopen the investigation papers on the rioters who had caused the death of Adib. Under Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR), everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that this right is protected and if there is a violation of this right, the party who violates this right should be held accountable under the force of law.


Co-Chairmen of the Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organizations in the UPR Process (MACSA); and

President of the Association of Muslim Lawyers Malaysia (PPMM)

*Published in New Straits Times

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