Hasanah’s case: Prosecution wants in-camera proceedings due to national security

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

The High Court was today told that the statements of 11 prosecution witnesses in the trial of former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid has to be conducted in-camera as it involved national security.

Deputy Public Prosecutor, Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad in his argument said the 11 witnesses comprised those who are still serving in their respective stations abroad.

“What would be the effect on foreign relations with statements by the witnesses on agencies abroad? If the identity of the witnesses are revealed, it could threaten their security and affect the capability of witnesses in carrying out their duties.

“The witnesses could also exposed information on intelligence in the country involved, and could indirectly expose the names of the countries which we have close intelligence ties.

“The bigger impact would be on existing relations as well as negative impact on Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with other countries and could threaten our country as a whole,” he said in a prosecution application that the 11 witnesses give their statements in-camera in the trial of Hasanah who is facing a criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge involving RM50.4 million

Counsel Hamdan Hamzah who is representing Hasanah said the defence is against the application as the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to say that national security would be threatened if the 11 witnesses gave their statements in open court.

“In their affidavit, the prosecution opined that foreign relations would be affected if the trial held in open court.

“But we find no evidence to prove the statements of witnesses would be manipulated as the affidavit on foreign relations is only a speculation,” he said.

He added that if the prosecution wanted 11 witnesses to give their statement in-camera, they need to provide evidence and the court would decide.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh set tomorrow for a decision on the application.

“The court will commence trial tomorrow, regardless of whether the application is dismissed or allowed,” said Ahmad Shahrir.

The Court had earlier set the trial in October.

On Oct 25 2018, Hasanah, 62 pleaded not guilty to a charge of committing CBT amounting to US$12.1 (RM50.4 million) in funds belonging to the government when serving as the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Department Research Division.

She was charged of committing the offence at the office of the Research Division in the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) in Putrajaya between April 30 to May 9 2018.

The woman was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum of 20 years jail and whipping as well as fine if found guilty.