Hasanah Abdul Hamid, the former Director-General of the now defunct Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO), claimed that she “forgot” to attend her pre-trial case management, on 24 May. She was considered a flight risk and her passport was confiscated, last year. In February 2020, she will be tried for criminal breach of trust (CBT), regarding RM50.4 million of public funds.
It is impossible for anyone to forget their day in court. Most people will be under a lot of stress, have sleepless nights and a loss of appetite.
Incredibly, her lawyer from the firm, Azam Aziz Shaharudinali & Co, confirmed that they had also “forgotten” to inform her.
The High Court was not impressed with either party, and issued a warrant for her arrest.
If her lawyer genuinely forgot to inform her, then Hasanah cannot have “forgotten”, but was unaware.
To “forget ” and being “blissfully ignorant” of the need to attend court are entirely different. Perhaps, the courts should censure the lawyer, and the firm for letting their client down, as it was not her fault that she did not realise she had to attend.
Hasanah’s organisation, the MEIO, was such a well-kept secret that few people knew of its existence. It is attached to the Prime-Minister’s Department (PMD) and Hasanah had to report directly to the disgraced, former PM, Najib Abdul Razak.
MEIO is the Malaysian equivalent of MI6
The MEIO was set-up during Najib’s tenure and functions like the MI6 section of the British Secret Intelligence Service. They collaborate with their counterparts around the world, MI6, CIA and other intelligence networks, for national security.
There are allegations that the MEIO allowed Najib to spy on his critics. These included people like activists, students, and businessmen who are based both locally and overseas.
Soon after GE-14, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was in the midst of investigating seven civil servants in the PMD for corruption, when they inadvertently stumbled upon the RM50 million of taxpayer’s money which was linked to Hasanah.
Some of this money was recovered from various locations in Cyberjaya and a raid of the PMD, but half of it is still missing. Hasanah along with her deputy, and six others, were arrested in August 2018. The men were from MEIO’s administrative and diplomatic service, with Grades ranging from 44 to 48. A businessman from Kelantan, who is a permanent resident of UK, was also arrested.
Najib’s abuse of the Official Secrets Act
It was also reported that two days before GE-14 Najib had handed her some documents. What did the papers contain?
She had caused an earlier controversy, when a letter she had written to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in Langley, America, was leaked to the press. Hasanah had requested the CIA Director, Gina Haspel, to persuade President Trump to lend American support to Najib, if there was a hung parliament in GE-14.
Hasanah said that Najib had nothing to do with the letter, and dismissed the accusation of treason, but instead accused those who leaked the letter, of treason.
She could be trying to deflect attention; but what made her think that writing to the CIA was advisable? What was her real motive for writing this letter?
Did she write of her own volition, or was she instructed by her boss at the time, Najib? Is she not aware of her serious predicament, as she had invited a foreign nation to interfere in the democratic process and government administration of a sovereign nation.
Nevertheless, Hasanah will only face charges related to the missing RM50.4 million. Hasanah may seem like a quiet unassuming auntie, but how and why did she have access to millions of ringgits for GE-14? What was she going to do with it?
How did Najib want her to influence the outcome of GE-14 with this money?
The money was procured from the PMD. This cache of money is not the first to be highlighted in MACC reports. So, how much money does the PMD hold at any one time? It appears that Najib’s PMD, and apartments, hold more cash than most high street bank branches.
How convenient for Najib, that the MEIO and its undertakings are covered by the Official Secrets Act (OSA), and we cannot ask questions.