KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng today questioned if PAS’ agreement to settle out-of-court its defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown could mean that the allegation against the Islamic party is true.
It was reported yesterday that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had agreed to withdraw the suit, and consented to undisclosed terms of settlement with Rewcastle-Brown, through a consent order dated Feb 1 at the London High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division.
The portal had reported that the Islamist party received RM90 million from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in exchange for the party’s support.
Other than both parties withdrawing their claims and no order as to costs, Lim questioned why other terms of the settlement were kept secret.
“After spending more than RM2.5 million in legal fees, and given a court date in April, it does not make sense for Hadi to give up so easily, especially in a seemingly outrageous claim of his party having received RM90 million from former disgraced prime minister.
“This brings into question — were the allegations in the article nothing but the truth? Do Hadi and other party leaders dare to give a simple, straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer?” said Lim in a statement.
The Kepong MP urged Abdul Hadi, or other party leaders to come up with a definitive answer on the matter.
“The rakyat, voters in Kelantan and Terengganu, PAS members, the Inland Revenue Board, and the MACC, need to know,” he added.
Lim also asked what happened to the public donation, some RM400,000, PAS sought to raise to cover the cost of the legal suit.
“Did PAS manage to collect the whole sum? If yes, will Hadi donate the balance of the money, if there is any left? It would not be morally right for the party to keep it for themselves.
“The out-of-court settlement by Hadi has raised more questions than allowing it to go to court. It is my hope that Hadi will respond to the questions in the minds of many,” Lim said.
The settlement had involved Abdul Hadi withdrawing his claims against the defendant, Rewcastle-Brown as well as the defendant withdrawing her counterclaims against the PAS president.
Following the out-of-court settlement, Rewcastle-Brown told Malaysiakini that she regarded the outcome of the suit as a “total victory and vindication”.