PM announces three task forces for Adib, Thomas and Pulau Batu Puteh

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PM announces three task forces for Adib, Thomas and Pulau Batu Puteh
PM announces three task forces for Adib, Thomas and Pulau Batu Puteh

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced the formation of three task forces to look into the unsolved death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, allegations made by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas and also the Pulau Batu Puteh dispute, among others.

Ismail Sabri said the decision was made at the cabinet meeting yesterday.

He said the first is a special committee led by de facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

"The special committee will ensure a thorough and transparent investigation as well as appropriate action in Adib's death," he added.

Other members of the committee include Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, Housing and Local Government Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican and Attorney-General Idrus Harun.

The Fire and Rescue Department falls under the Housing and Local Government Ministry while the police come under Hamzah's jurisdiction.

Firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim
Firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim

Adib died at the National Heart Institute on Dec 17, 2018, after succumbing to injuries sustained while on duty during riots near the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Subang Jaya about a month earlier.

In September last year, coroner Rofiah Mohamad ruled that Adib's death was a criminal act perpetrated by two or three unidentified assailants during a riot outside the temple last November.

However, investigators have yet to be able to identify the alleged perpetrators.

Ismail Sabri said a task force will also be set up to look into Thomas' allegations of judicial abuse and interference made in his book "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness".

Govt seeking legal advice

The premier said the task force will be chaired by a former chief justice who will be determined later.

He added that the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) under the Prime Minister's Department and the Attorney-General's Chambers will serve as the secretariat.

"The proposed special task force will, among others, investigate Thomas' claim about the abuse of power in the appointment of judges, excessive executive interference in the judiciary, selective and political prosecution and breach in the oath of secrecy."

The third task force, Ismail Sabri said, will seek international legal advice on the available options to see a judicial review of the Pulau Batu Puteh case.

The special task force will be led by former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.

He added that the cabinet will also seek legal advice under the "Tort of Misfeasance" against those who are found to have been negligent for not pursuing a judicial review of the case.

The International Court of Justice had in 2008 ruled in favour of Singapore in the territorial dispute over the island.

Then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in May 2018 said the government was reconsidering the judicial review but in 2019 decided to proceed with it.

Ismail Sabri said the special committee and task forces have six months to present their findings and recommendations to the cabinet.

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