Hasanah Ab Hamid also breached protocol when she asked a foreign government to take sides in Malaysia’s domestic affairs.
Former top intelligence officer Hasanah Ab Hamid breached protocol when she wrote to the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asking it to take sides in Malaysia’s domestic political affairs, says a lawyer who once served as a Special Branch officer.
SN Nair said such action could amount to treason.
“Intelligence organisations’ job is to report to the government of the day and operate neutrally between political parties,” he told FMT.
The letter described Najib as a friend of the US, as opposed to the “anti-West, anti-Semite” Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the chairman of Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Following the revelation of the letter, Hasanah, who heads a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department called ‘Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation’ (MEIO), was accused of treason. Hasanah earlier defended her action, saying it was a normal exchange between intelligence bodies of two countries.
“It was made in good faith,” she said in a statement through her lawyers.
But Nair said intelligence organisations should not be partial to any political party but protect public interests and national security.
He added that Hasanah had no right to write to the CIA chief to canvass support for Najib and Barisan Nasional (BN).
“What was her motivation to write to the CIA in support of Najib and BN?” he asked.
Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla agreed and urged the authorities to arrest and investigate Hasanah.
He said police must also investigate under whose instruction the letter to the CIA was issued.
Former prime minister Najib Razak has distanced himself from the letter, and Hasanah claimed that she did not consult Najib before writing it.
Haniff said Hasanah’s motive in her report asking the police to find out who leaked the letter was “utter rubbish and insane”.
He said the Official Secrets Act was to safeguard the interests of the nation, “not the well-being of any individual or BN”.
Nair meanwhile took to task Hasanah’s lawyer Shaharudin Ali for revealing details on MEIO.
Shahruddin reportedly said that the unit employed 1,000 agents worldwide.
Nair said it was a foolhardy revelation which was forbidden in any intelligence organisation.
“You never divulge details of the size of your personnel and their deployment,” he said, adding that Shahruddin may have run foul of the OSA.
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