Ex-intel chief withdraws challenge on right to legal counsel while in custody

Former intelligence head Hasanah Ab Hamid spared from paying any costs to the government.

PUTRAJAYA: In an unexpected turn of events, former intelligence head Hasanah Ab Hamid today withdrew her appeal whether arrested persons could consult lawyers during investigations.

Appearing before a three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, she said lawyer Shahrudin Ali no longer represented her.

“I have discharged the counsel and I am also withdrawing the appeal,” said the ex-chief of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation.

Hamid, who sat with Kamaludin Md Said and Hadhariah Syed Ismail, then struck out the appeal.

However, she was spared from paying any costs to the government.

Deputy public prosecutor Wong Poi Yoke did not object to Hasanah’s applications.

Wong later told reporters that the prosecution had submitted its written submission as instructed by the bench whether the appeal was academic.

She, however, said Hasanah’s lawyer did not file any submission.

On Oct 26, 2018, Hasanah failed in her bid to challenge the authorities on her right to legal representation while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the alleged misuse of government funds.

High Court judge Nordin Hassan ruled that the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) provisions which Hasanah claimed had denied her constitutional rights, did not discriminate against any person who had been arrested.

“Sections 28 (8) and 28 (9) of the CPC do not remove any detainee’s right to legal representation. They merely suspend it temporarily,” he had said.

Hasanah was remanded for five days in August 2018 as part of MACC’s investigation into the alleged misappropriation of RM50 million (US12.1 million) in government funds.

She filed the lawsuit, claiming the provisions in the CPC were against Articles 5 (3) and 8 of the Federal Constitution on the right to legal representation and equality.

Currently on RM500,000 bail, she is facing a criminal breach of trust charge amounting to RM50 million at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Hasanah came under the spotlight after the May 9 general election when a letter written to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Gina Haspel, asking for Washington’s support for Barisan Nasional, was leaked to the public.

The letter was investigated by the police, but the then top cop Mohamad Fuzi Harun did not reveal details of the probe.