News Malaysiakini

The cop in the centre of a storm

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Abdul Hamid Bador came under the spotlight when he was transferred as the deputy chief of the police intelligence unit to the Prime Minister's Department on Aug 18, 2015, amid a crackdown on the 1MDB investigation by the previous government.

As a long-time Special Branch man, Abdul Hamid was not one who had spent much time in the public eye.

The most recent mention of Abdul Hamid, prior to his removal from the Special Branch, was when his name was raised by Sulu fighters who had launched an incursion into Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Abdul Hamid was on the ground during the conflict, negotiating for the intruders to abandon their incursion.

But Abdul Hamid, who spent most of his 38-year career within the police in the Special Branch, made headlines when he refused to go quietly following his removal.

Former inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Noor had also expressed concern when Abdul Hamid, who had served under him when he led the Special Branch in 1986, was removed in 2015.

"He is an intelligence officer through and through. It is in his blood. As a boss, I never had any doubts about him. The interest and security of the country were always uppermost for him.

“He was dedicated to the Special Branch. He would do everything to safeguard its inte­grity, image and dignity,” Rahim had said.

Abdul Hamid did not clock in at the Prime Minister's Department, and 10 days after his removal, went public and claimed he was removed for his insistence on looking into the 1MDB scandal.


Read more: Removed during Najib's time, Hamid Bador now named acting DIGP


He also claimed "certain powers" were hiding witnesses in the investigation into SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

Abdul Hamid also revealed that he had met with then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail (belowtwo days before the latter was removed.

Abdul Gani's removal was widely seen as an attempt to kill the 1MDB investigation, amid speculation that he was preparing to charge then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, following the formation of a new government, confirmed that Abdul Gani had prepared a charge sheet.

While Abdul Gani kept a low profile after his removal, Abdul Hamid also publicly pushed the former attorney-general to go public on what he knew.

Abdul Hamid had also taken aim at Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, claiming that she was present at a meeting between Najib and then deputy prime minister and home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and other top officials regarding his removal. Rosmah's aide had denied this.

He had also accused Rosmah (below) of "troubling" his officers, lamenting that they were forced to escort her on her shopping trips.

Suppression of the 1MDB investigation fizzled when Najib was defeated in the 2018 general election, marking the end of the BN-Alliance's 61-year hold on power since independence.

Najib is now facing at least 41 charges of corruption and money laundering, with more charges expected to be brought forward.

International investigators believe that at least US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and laundered through the international financial system for the benefit of Najib and his associates. Najib had denied wrongdoing.

Following the installation of a new government, Abdul Hamid was brought back to the Special Branch, this time as its chief.

Prior to his appointment as acting deputy inspector-general of police today, there had been speculation that he was tipped to take over as the country's top cop.

Abdul Hamid had downplayed the speculation, stating that his focus was still with the Special Branch and finding fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho, who is an alleged key conspirator in the 1MDB scandal.

Inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun is set to retire next month, and with Abdul Hamid as his acting deputy, it appears that the latter taking over remains a real possibility.

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