KUALA LUMPUR: The Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM) has urged the Attorney-General to provide a detailed explanation on why there has yet to be a murder charge over the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, who died after being assaulted in a riot outside the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Subang recently.
PPMM president, Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, said the association is also puzzled over the need for an inquest. He said this is because the public do not have access to the investigation and an inquest would only cause further delay to justice sought by the family of the deceased.
“An inquest is a procedure under Section XXXII of the Criminal Procedure Code, whereby a magistrate can be instructed by the AG under Section 339(1) of the same code to conduct an investigation to determine a cause of death.
Under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution, the AG has the authority and discretion to initiate, continue or stop any proceeding on an offence, apart from proceedings in the Syariah Court, Native Court or Military Court,” he said in a statement.
Zainul Rijal said although the decision to hold an inquest is the prerogative of the AG, it raises questions and appears to show the AG as being “confused” over the death of Mohd Adib despite the medical report and post-mortem report. The police, he said, had also opened an investigation paper and classified the case as murder.
“An inquest process takes time, as the magistrate has a wide scope of powers to study the case of death, including by summoning all parties involved. As this process could take time, it has raised concerns over the four people currently being proved by the police.”
He said although the case had been reclassified as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code, no suspect has been arrested or charged under the section.
“What is more worrying is that the four people have been freed on police bond and not a court bond, which requires a surety and bail,” he said.
He said, if the police or AG felt that the suspects had no connection to the offence, they should have been freed unconditionally instead.
“As the police have classified the case under Section 302 of the Penal Code, it is only right that the suspects are rearrested and remanded to prevent a failure of the legal process.
“The people need to know if the investigation is incomplete or if there are other elements which could lead to a breakdown in the prosecution’s case.
“I also urge the police to finalise the investigation paper and for the AG to make a decision soon on charging the suspects.
“Not all cases under Section 302 of the Penal Code need an inquest before prosecution can take place,” he said.
He said PPMM is also puzzled by the actions of some quarters, who are seeking for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia to intervene in the police investigation.
“Does this mean that the police no longer conduct its investigations transparently, to the extent that another must be done? This runs parallel to a statement by a minister, who had blamed the police in the incident.
“Apart from criminal law, Mohd Adib’s family can also seek alternative means such as via tort law in the civil courts to seek justice.”