Lawyer: Police must probe letter seeking CIA backing for Najib

Former Malaysian Bar president Zainur Zakaria says even members of the public can lodge a report to begin investigations into the letter. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: A senior lawyer has urged police to investigate a letter purportedly written by the top intelligence officer in former prime minister Najib Razak’s administration which sought the support of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to keep him in power.

Zainur Zakaria said the request, made days before the May 9 general election, was an attempt to obtain the assistance of a foreign intelligence agency and government to interfere in Malaysia’s democratic election process.

“This act constitutes an offence under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma). It seeks to procure an election result favourable to Najib and Barisan Nasional (BN) by unlawful means and also affects the security of Malaysia,” he told FMT.

The letter was allegedly written on behalf of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organization (MEIO) and signed by Hasanah Ab Hamid, who also leads a unit under the Research Division of the Prime Minister’s Department.

Hasanah, whose present whereabouts are unknown, is said to have penned the three-page letter to CIA director Gina Haspel, stating that Najib was a US ally with whom Washington could work, compared to Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was seen as “anti-West (and) anti-Semite”.

Mahathir led Pakatan Harapan to victory in the May 9 polls, ousting BN for the first time in over 60 years.

Zainur, who is also a former Malaysian Bar president, said paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and especially paragraph 14 of the letter clearly indicated a request for support from the CIA to help BN win GE14.

“The police themselves can lodge a report to begin investigations. Any member of the public can also do so,” he said.

Zainur said in the past, it was BN who accused the opposition of trying to obtain support from foreign agencies to bring down the democratically elected government.

“This letter appears to indicate that it is Najib and BN who sought foreign interference, not the opposition,” he said.

Zainur also said Najib had not denied the existence of the letter but merely stated that he was not aware of it.

“Surely, as prime minister, it is ridiculous for him not to be aware. It concerns a very serious and important issue that affects the democratic process and national security of the nation.”

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