AG ordered lawyer’s removal: Minister’s aide (Updated)

28 May 2019 / 18:05 H.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who represented three parties at the inquest into the death of fireman Muhamad Adib Mohd Kassim, was removed at the instruction of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement later said that the reasons behind Syazlin’s removal included conflict of interests as she had agreed to represent three interested parties in the case.

“Firstly, the housing ministry and fire department, like other government department and ministries are required to seek legal advice from this Chambers (AGC), with external counsel being appointed by the Attorney General/ Public Prosecutor.”

“Secondly, Pn Syazlin was in a conflict of interest position when she agreed to act for the housing ministry and the fire department as she was also acting for the deceased family, who have a direct interest in the inquest. The interest of these parties may conflict, and it is unacceptable for her to act for all three parties.

“Thirdly, my officers, who are performing their additional role as counsel assisting the coroner, have informed me that Pn Syazlin takes an active part in the inquest, often contradicting the positions our DPP’s have taken, thus causing embarrassment in her capacity as the ministry’s lawyer,“

“Fourthly, Pn Syazlin’s husband is employed as press secretary to the housing minister. It is for these reasons that I requested the housing minister to immediately revoke her appointment from further representing the ministry and fire department,“ said Thomas.

However, he said that he was shocked to discover that Syazlin also withdrew from representing Adib’s family, clarifying that the decision was not influenced by the AGC.

Nor Hizwan Ahmad, political secretary to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, in statement today said reports quoting an unnamed source at the AGC that the minister had appointed a lawyer to represent Fire and Rescue Department at the inquest without the knowledge of the AGC did not give the full picture of what transpired,

“Lawyer Syazlin was appointed at an early stage to ensure and assist in the discovery of the full facts surrounding the death of Adib.

“This was a matter of great importance to fire and rescue department and the ministry as a member of the department had died in the course of carrying out his duty.

“It has been public knowledge that the lawyer has been representing the fire and rescue department and the ministry since the inquest commenced on Feb 11.

“No objections were raised by any of the parties throughout the course of the inquest which is nearing its end,“ Nor Hizwan said.

“Upon receiving a letter from the Attorney-General dated May 23 requesting that the appointment of the ministry’s lawyer be revoked, the ministry immediately acted in accordance with the AG’s advice and instructed its lawyer to withdraw from the inquest,“ he said.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Syazlin should have stayed on to represent the victim’s family if she really wanted to seek the truth.

He said this as it was not right for Syazlin to represent the government when she was also part of the legal counsels acting on behalf of Adib’s family.

“The ones who appointed Syazlin did not know initially that she was also the lawyer for Adib’s family. So when we found out, of course she has to withdraw as the government counsel. But she should have stayed on to represent the family,“ he added.

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