Labelled ‘scum’, Sarawak Report says will sue Umno minister, others

Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had said that he may not be in a position to judge the man’s character despite his admission to being paid to expose the website. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan had said that he may not be in a position to judge the man’s character despite his admission to being paid to expose the website. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Sarawak Report (SR) said it is now consulting with its lawyers with the aim of reporting Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan to the police and suing him for criminal libel, after the Umno minister accused the website of publishing lies and labelled its founder Clare Rewcastle Brown “scum”.

The whistleblower site whose exposes on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal are now the subject of investigations here, said it may also issue libel proceedings against other parties like the New Straits Times and publications that it claims have deliberately reported falsehoods to damage its credibility.

On the allegations of forgery by former Sarawak Tribune editor Lester Melanyi, SR said it will report the matter to the police but will not haul the man to court as “he’s not worth suing”.

“And we warn him and anyone who continues to promote his present and future made up stories that we will seek appropriate damages,” SR said in its latest posting titled, “Sorry This Time We Are Going To Have To Sue!”.

SR noted that due to the tough stance it takes in its exposés, it had refrained in the past to react to those who attack them in response to the damning articles.

But in recent days, however, some critics in the government as well as several media outfits “have gone too far”, it said.

“They have paraded a sick and discredited individual, who has poured out strings of lies, which none of them have sought to check out, in order to claim this as ‘proof’ that our research was all ‘forged’,” it said, referring to Lester’s claim that SR had used forged documents in its 1MDB exposes.

SR noted that even without evidence to prove Lester’s credibility, Abdul Rahman had relied on the former journalist’s claims to accuse the website of publishing lies, even referring to its founder Rewcastle Brown as “scum”.

“Mr Dahlan has not produced a single shred of evidence that would lead anyone to believe the ravings of the mentally unbalanced bankrupt, Lester Melanyi.

“We therefore accuse Mr Dahlan of criminal libel, motivated by malicious intent,” it said.

On Sunday, Abdul Rahman, when maintaining his position on Lester’s claims that SR had forged 1MDB documents, had said that he may not be in a position to judge the man’s character despite his admission to being paid to expose the website.

The minister added, however, that it was probably because Lester is “perceived as scum” that Rewcastle Brown had hired him to attack Sarawak and other national leaders in her alleged plot to unseat Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“After all, it takes a scum to know another scum,” Abdul Rahman had written in a post on his Facebook page.

Lester had last Thursday admitted to Malay Mail Online that he was paid to expose a convoluted conspiracy involving Malaysia’s opposition, SR and its UK-based founder Rewcastle-Brown in their alleged plot to unseat Najib through so-called doctored leaks of documents on 1MDB.

Abdul Rahman, who is also Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, later insisted that Lester’s allegations that SR had forged documents was still pertinent due to public interest in Putrajaya’s.

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