Adib's inquest: Team only told to be on standby, says FRU officer

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SHAH ALAM (March 20): The Coroner's Court here was today told that the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) did not disperse the crowd during the riot at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya, on Nov 27 last year because the team was only instructed to be on standby.

FRU Unit 1A officer, ASP Shuhaimi Yaakub said as specified in the FRU’s standard operating procedure (SOP) the FRU team only provided assistance to the Subang Jaya district police headquarters while the latter was supposed to brief or give instruction on whether the team should take action or just be on standby.

"We only received instruction to be on standby and no further orders were given," the 21st witness said in reply to deputy public prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah who is conducting the  inquest into the death of Muhammad Adib Kassim.

Hamdan: Why didn’t the FRU take action against the crowd who were out of control?

Shuhaimi: According to the SOP and the 'public order manual' guidelines, any action to address or control a riot must be reported to the Subang Jaya district police chief (IPD).

I together with Unit 1 commanding officer Supt Jefri Muhammad tried to contact the OCPD but he could not be reached. Jefri then contacted the Subang Jaya IPD deputy chief who only instructed us to be on standby.

Hamdan : What is contained in the public order manual?

Shuhaimi: In paragraph 19, Chapter 25 of the manual it states that the FRU in giving special operations assistance could only take action through the instructions of a designated police officer. If assistance is given to the IPD, we need to refer to either the district police chief or a senior police officer who has been authorised by the district police chief.

When asked by Hamdan on the capability of 'Troop 1’ in controlling rioters, Shuhaimi said based on experience, Troop 1 could control a crowd of 1,000 people but at that time the full force was not there.

"Each troop should consist of three officers and 85 members. On the night of the incident, there were only two troops with five officers and 113 members.

“If the rioters were not armed, we could have managed with that number of manpower,” he said.

The witness said he arrived at the scene with the two teams at 10.40pm on Nov 26, 2018 along with seven vehicles namely a command vehicle, three lorries, a logistics truck, a Land Rover and water cannon.

However, he said all the vehicles were caught in the traffic congestion at a flyover heading towards the temple.

"I was standing at the flyover which was about 100 metres away from the temple. I could see there were about 5,000 people at the site and it was a noisy as people were shouting and cheering.

I also saw two vehicles on fire before two fire department vehicles arrived to put out the fire," he said.

When the lawyer representing the victim's family, Yahaya Othman asked if he agreed that the FRU had made a mistake resulting in someone’s death, the witness disagreed.

Yahaya: When did you manage to contact the OCPD?

Shuhaimi: I am not sure, but when everything was over at about 3am, after the crowd had dispersed I saw the OCPD at the site.

The 22nd witness, Hardeep Singh, 29, who was near the scene said he made four video recordings with his mobile phone and one of the recordings showed the vehicles on fire, three others showed the FRT vehicle and EMRS van reversing.

The security firm manager said he did not see what happened to the victim (Muhammad Adib) as he was watching the EMRS van and the FRT vehicle reversing at that time.

"I could not record much as they (FRT, EMRS vehicles) left the scene within a short time," he said.

Muhammad Adib, 24, who was a member of the Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS)  from the Subang Jaya Fire & Rescue Station, was seriously injured during the riots at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya, on Nov 27 last year.

He succumbed to his injuries on Dec 17 last year at the National Heart Institute (IJN).

The hearing before coroner Rofiah Mohamad continues tomorrow.