Four vehicles belonging to senior Customs officer torched (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: In what is believed to be retaliation to enforcement, arsonists struck early today by setting fire to a Royal Customs Department senior assistant director's house and four cars on Jalan P11/1, Presint 11 here.

Nur Azman Mat Jini, 59, who is with the federal Customs GST enforcement division, lost a Mercedes Benz belonging to his wife and his daughter's Perodua Myvi, which were destroyed by the fire at about 3.30am. His Honda CRV and his son-in-law's Proton Saga were slightly damaged in the incident.

The front exterior of his house, which is government quarters, was also extensively damaged as a result of the blazing cars.

Fortunately, there were no casualies as the the assistant director and his family managed to escape from their home after an alert neighbour spotted the fire.

There were six occupants in the house at the time, namely Nur Azman, his wife, their daughter, their son-in-law and their two grandchildren.

Putrajaya police chief ACP Rosly Hassan said today that Nur Azman's neighbour had heard a small explosion when the fire broke out, and rushed out of his house to investigate. The man spotted the bonnet of the Mercedes Benz on fire and shouted out to his neighbour, alerting him to evacuate his home with his family.

"Preliminary investigations show that there are elements of arson in the case. We found a hammer on the bonnet of the Mercedes and a lighter on the floor, both items which we suspect were used by the arsonists," he said.

Rosly said the case is being investigated for arson under Section 435 of the Penal Code.

Putrajaya Fire and Rescue Department director Md Hilman Abd Rashid said his department is investigating all possibilities, including foul play.

According to Hilman, no one was injured because the occupants managed to exit via the back door of the house.

Meanwhile, Customs deputy director-general (enforcement and compliance) Datuk Zulkifli Yahya said the department was waiting to receive full reports from the police and the Fire and Rescue Department.

"Let the authorities probe the matter first," he said at a separate press conference in Dengkil today.

Apart from other less-serious cases, one which shocked the nation was on April 27, 2013 when Customs deputy director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim, 58, was shot dead on his way to work at Putrajaya in the morning.

Shahruddin was in a four-wheel drive vehicle, along with his driver, at a traffic light junction, when two unidentified men on a motorcycle pulled up alongside before firing three gunshots. He was hit in the neck and rushed to the Putrajaya Hospital, but was pronounced dead by doctors.

Shaharuddin who was head of the customs and internal tax department was a dedicated and a no-nonsense officer who was known to be strict and non-compromising when it came to enforcing the law.

About 40 people were questioned over the case and about a year later, a man said to be the main suspect in the case was detained.

However, the arrest did not yield positive leads and the murder remains unsolved.