KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Dow Jones & Company, the publisher for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), confirmed today it has responded to the request for clarification from lawyers representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and said that it will continue to stand by the accuracy of its reports.
Without revealing details, a representative from Dow Jones said in an email to Malay Mail Online that the firm issued its response yesterday.
“Yes we responded to the lawyers’ letter yesterday and continue to stand by our reporting,” the Dow Jones spokesman said.
The firm was on July 8 given 14 days to respond to the lawyers’ letter seeking confirmation from WSJ on whether its writers had accused Najib of misappropriation in its exposés on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
The legal letter was sent in response to the exposés titled “Malaysia leader’s accounts probed”, published on July 2, and “Scandal in Malaysia”, which cited sources within the team conducting investigations on 1MDB.
It was alleged in the reports US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) from 1MDB had been funnelled into Najib’s personal accounts via several channels including SRC International, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.
In a brief statement immediately after receiving Najib’s letter, Dow Jones said, “We stand behind our fair and accurate coverage of this evolving story.”
The 14-day deadline to respond to the letter expires today.
Yesterday, a lawyer representing the prime minister claimed that Dow Jones’ failure to respond to the letter would be tantamount to an admission of guilt by the firm.
Wan Azmir Wan Majid of legal firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak told Berita Harian that once the deadline for the request for clarification expires, the prime minister can proceed with his legal suit against the newspaper.
“If we do not receive any response by today, then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has a few legal options, including suing or issuing a letter of demand to WSJ,” he was quoted saying by the Malay language daily.
“Dow Jones’s refusal to respond in any way or even clarify their allegations can be construed as an admission of guilt,” he added.
The lawyer added, however, that it was still too early to predict the prime minister’s next move.