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Malaysian intelligence agency plays role in MILF peace talks with Manila

THE MALAYSIAN External Intelligence Organisation or MEIO was said to have played a role in peace talks between the Philippine government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, according to whistle-blower website Wikileaks.

In a report by the Malaysian online newspaper The Star, it said a search on WikiLeaks shows MEIO has been mentioned several times in reports sent by the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Little is known about the activities of the covert intelligence agency, but MEIO came under the spotlight after a letter by its former chief to the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was leaked, appeared in nine diplomatic cables that were part of the cache of documents uploaded by WikiLeaks, according to The Star.

It said an example was a report sent by the U.S. Embassy dated May 8, 2006 and classified as “secret” and the report to the U.S. Defence Secretary ahead of a visit by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander mentioned MEIO’s role in hosting peace talks between Manila and the MILF.

The Philippine government, then under President Benigno Aquino, had signed an interim peace deal with the MILF in 2014. And now President Rodrigo Duterte has led Filipino officials and MILF leaders in signing the Bangsamoro Organic Law which shall give wider autonomy to the Muslims in Mindanao, south of the country, as part of the peace accord.

The Star also reported that other U.S. Embassy cables which discussed the insurgency in southern Thailand and efforts by various parties in efforts to seek peace also mentioned MEIO. One dated February 13, 2007, stated that the then honorary Thai consul in Langkawi had expressed his belief that a recent visit to Thailand by Malaysia’s then prime minister would result in the MEIO taking up a facilitation role in discussions between Thai intelligence and southern insurgents.

On May 4, five days before the last general elections, a letter by MEIO’s then director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid that reportedly appealed to the United States to support Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s admi¬nistration was leaked.

The letter was addressed to CIA director Gina Haspel. Last week, Hasanah lodged a police report calling on the authorities to probe the individuals responsible for the leak of the confidential letter which she said fell under the Official Secrets Act.

Hasanah said the leak had destroyed the trust foreign intelligence agencies had in MEIO and jeopardised ties between the agency and its foreign counterparts. Hasanah explained in her statement that MEIO – which uses the formal name of the Research Division, Prime Minister’s Department – was set up in the 1960s.

She said MEIO had contributed much to national security including resolving the Communist threat, confrontation with Indonesia, regional conflicts and most recently the Daesh threat. (The Star. With a report from the Mindanao Examiner.)

 

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Deskman
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