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Malaysian ex-spy chief shares Kgosi’s fate

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  • Warrant of arrest granted issued for not appearing in court
  • Charged with criminal breach of trust involving gov’t P130 million
  • Issued with prohibitory order of immovable property, accounts suspended
  • Accused for trying to topple the government with US help

TEFO PHEAGE

Malaysia’s ex-spy chief, Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, is in a predicament similar to that of his opposite number from Botswana who is purportedly in Hamid’s country for medical treatment.

The former director general of Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) faces charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving over P130 million belonging to the government and will face trial next year.

Like the former director general Botswana’s Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS), Isaac Kgosi, Hamid was recently slapped with a warrant of arrest for failing to appear in court on her scheduled date and has been issued with a prohibitory order of immovable property dated Sept 3, 2018 which she is currently challenging.

Her accounts, like Kgosi’s, have been freezed. She told a court last year that she had no other source of income and depended fully on her pension that is channelled into her suspended account. Efforts to establish whether Kgosi has been receiving his pension through his Barclays Bank account that had P500 000 when it was recently freezed proved futile at the time of going to press.

Hamid is accused of committing the offence in her previous capacity as a civil servant in the research department of the prime minister’s office in Putrajaya between 30 April and 9 May 2018. Under Section 409 of Malaysia’s penal code, the charge carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, a fine plus whipping upon conviction.

Last year, the once feared Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid tasted the inside of prisons walls when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested her to help in its probe of misappropriation of election funds. She was called and arrested upon her arrival at the MACC headquarters.

Hamid later fought bitterly to clear her name of accusations of trying to topple the government after several screenshots of a letter in which she allegedly wrote to CIA director Gina Haspel pitching former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, under whom she served, as a United States ally went viral.

The letter, which was confirmed by her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali, was allegedly written on May 4 2018, just a week before Malaysia’s 14th general elections. The letter appealed for US support for the Najib administration “even if we win the election by a simple majority or just one seat”.

“I hope Your Excellency’s esteemed service would be able to report to the Secretary of State on the complexity of managing this election by Prime Minister Najib and the need to have US support for the present government even if we are to win the election by a simple majority or just one seat,” Hamid allegedly wrote to the head of the CIA.

There have also been calls by those outside government to probe the veracity of the letter amid claims that asking a foreign government to intervene in Malaysia’s political affairs was tantamount to treason.

Najib Razak, who was being pitched for, was on July 2018 arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in the course of investigating how US$10.6 million went from an investment company called SRC International into Najib’s bank account. Police also seized 1,400 necklaces, 567 handbags, 423 watches, 2,200 rings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras worth $273 million, according to the Malaysian press.

Najib is already facing 32 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering. After the 2013 elections, his government was marked by the pursuit of a number of its critics on sedition charges. The Malaysian press accused him of dealing with corruption accusations by tightening his grip on power by replacing the deputy prime minister, suspending two newspapers and pushing through parliament a controversial National Security Council Bill that provided the prime minister with unprecedented powers.

After the elections, the new administration, Alor Setar – the chief minister of Malaysia’s state of Kedah who is also the son of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed – warned that days were numbered for government officers who side-stepped the law from the previous administration under Razak which had brought about “so much rot”.

Hamid is one of the latest top officials of the Razak regime arrested by the MACC, an eventuality that a Malaysian newspaper, The Independent, says sparked “social media comments that the prison authorities should allocate a block in the Sungai Buloh prison for crimes commited.”

Facebook user Razak Fansuriah said: “I suggest that the prison department allocate a prison block in Sungai Buluh. The block can be named as Najib’s Razak block. He and his companions, male or female, should be locked up in the block. And the block should be open to the public as a reminder of their deeds to the nation,” the newspaper reported.

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