PARLIAMENT | Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and DAP lawmaker RSN Rayer questioned the Home Ministry for only proposing an illegal gathering charge for the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
Zahid, who is Bagan Datuk MP, also questioned the proposal to hold a second inquest into the death which occurred during a riot outside the Seafield temple in Subang Jaya in November 2018.
Yesterday, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin told the Dewan Rakyat that police recommended that the 12 suspects in the case be charged under Section 143 of the Penal Code which covers unlawful assembly and punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, a fine or both.
He also said the police have submitted a recommendation to the Attorney-General's Chambers for a fresh inquest to be held.
In delivering her judgment last year, coroner Rofiah Mohamad concluded that the blunt chest trauma sustained by Adib during the incident was not self-inflicted or an accident, but was caused by two to three unidentified persons who pulled the victim out of the emergency services (EMRS) van he was in, hitting him and dragging him.
She also found the police at fault for their inaction during the riot, saying if appropriate action had been taken, the mob would not have torched the vehicles and the Fire and Rescue Department would not have been involved.
In a Facebook post today, Zahid said the proposal for a fresh inquest appeared to be "denying" the coroner's findings and would be a "waste of time" while delaying justice for Adib's family.
He also said that an unlawful assembly charge was not enough for the killing of a public officer.
"The charge against those involved should be for killing as covered by Chapter 16 of the Penal Code and not for rioting," he added.
Chapter 16 of the Penal Code covers crimes such as homicide, murder and causing death by negligence.
Meanwhile, Rayer separately questioned in the Dewan Rakyat why there was no murder charge.
"The papers are reporting that the 12 suspects will be charged but this is not for Section 302 (murder)," the Jelutong MP said while raising a point of order, accusing the home minister of confusing the House by giving an answer about charges for illegal assembly when the question was about murder charges.
Deputy home minister Ismail Mohamed Said, however, defended Hamzah, saying the minister had answered the question.
He also told Rayer to be patient and wait for the Attorney-General's Chambers to decide on the police's recommendations regarding the illegal assembly charge and a fresh inquest.
Speaker Azhar Harun also said he did not find Hamzah's remarks misleading based on what he remembered about the exchange but said Rayer had a right to file a motion referring the minister to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
Adib was hospitalised at the National Heart Institute after he was attacked during the November 2018 riot. However, after a month, he succumbed to his injuries and died on Dec 17, 2018.
In June, it was reported that the family of the late firefighter would be filing a civil action against the police for purported negligence in acting to find the individuals allegedly responsible for Adib's death.
Harian Metro quoted Adib's father, Mohd Kassim Abdul Hamid, 64, as saying that although his family has accepted his passing, they still mourn for him as justice had yet to be served.