The plot has thickened over the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple controversy. Yesterday (Nov 28), the USJ25 temple taskforce claimed that the severely injured fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim wasn’t beaten by rioters but merely hit by his colleague with the fire engine that reversed out of a sudden.
FeedMe Malaysia reported the news at the time but it was later refuted by the Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) Director-General Datuk Mohamad Hamdan Wahid. According to Harian Metro, Hamdan said the person in the said video wasn’t Muhammad Adib but it was his colleague Mohd Hazim Mohd Rahimi, 31.
Rahimi was seated beside Hamdan in the press conference at National Heart Institute (IJN) yesterday where Adib was recovering. Hazim confirmed to the reporters while holding a screenshot photo of the video that the person in question was him.
He related that he jumped into an emergency vehicle, away from danger, upon seeing the mob came charging.
“It was a very chaotic and confusing moment,” said the fireman, adding that the rioters charged towards him with the intent to attack.
Hamdan said he would lodge a police report against the claim made by the temple committee and Selangor JBPM had done just that last night (Nov 28) at the Subang Jaya district police headquarters, NST reported.
Its director Azmi Osman made a similar statement as Hamdan when speaking to reporters outside, saying that eight other firemen were present during the scuffle and they were the true witness to the incident.
“Our officers were at the location and witnessed the incident. Those claiming Adib was run over by a fire engine reversing made the claims based on word of mouth and video recordings.
“They were not at the location. The fireman circled in the picture is not Adib, that is another officer,” said Azmi.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also commented on the issue that had caused a huge confusion nationwide. The premier said the rioters who attacked Adib had “no remorse” and injured the 24-year-old fireman with the intention to kill.
“Based on the victim’s condition, it is clear that those who did this intended to kill him.
“We can hold demonstrations but it has to be done peacefully. What took place was not a demonstration, but an attempt to kill when they came with parang and such.
“We don’t have much evidence, but police will conduct a thorough investigation to find out the mastermind behind this,” said Dr Mahathir after visiting Adib in IJN last night.
Dr Mahathir also said One City’s lawyer had made a grievous wrong move in hiring Malays to secure the temple.
“They don’t understand our culture, we can’t do that.
“If we can find out who is responsible, I feel that the Attorney-General should build a case.”
Dr Mahathir brought the issue to the Dewan Rakyat today (Nov 29) and he stressed that the government would take stern actions against those who abuse the freedom of speech.
He said Pakatan Harapan promises to uphold the freedom in communication and news reporting but it should be used responsibly.
“It should not be used to fan flames that could bring disunity or a split in racial harmony.
“It is also not the time to point fingers at anyone. The police have been given the responsibility to control the peace and conduct investigations.
“The wrong will be wrong and will face the law.”
The premier said there is a limit in democracy and it’s not the government’s intention to punish anyone blindly for abusing free speech.
“No one can act according as they please, break the law and give rise to unrest among the rakyat and cause chaos in the country.
“The right and freedom of speech does not mean a person can say whatever that is deemed provocative,” The Star quoted him as saying.
Dr Mahathir said there was a lot of false information being spread on this issue and he urged NGOs and politicians not to make the situation more difficult.
“I want to stress once again that this is not a racial issue, nor is it related to religion but criminal action that should not be given any room to ruin the relationship among the races in the country.”