KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang said he is unperturbed by the taunts of Sarawak Report (SR) editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown whom he had sued for defamation before withdrawing the lawsuit.
Despite going the distance of suing the Briton in the UK, he now claims her opinion did not matter as she was not part of the Malaysian electorate.
“I am not at all threatened. Clare is not a voter here,” he told reporters in Marang, Terengganu yesterday when asked about Rewcastle-Brown’s criticism of the Islamist party’s finances.
He also claimed it did not matter that SR was maintaining its article alleging that PAS leaders took RM90 million from Umno — over which he had sued Rewcastle-Brown — by saying it was already public knowledge.
Hadi unexpectedly withdrew his defamation suit against Rewcastle-Brown last month.
On the party’s admission that party leader Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz was the person recorded talking about taking the money, Hadi claimed the former was discussing the matter hypothetically.
Rewcastle-Brown had adduced the recording as defence evidence ahead of the discontinued lawsuit. Hadi’s team had not contested the submission.
Hadi also claimed that PAS’s account details were publicly available and anyone could deposit funds into it without its express knowledge.
“Anyone can give, even the Chinese and non-Muslims. We don’t ask where they are from or what political party they are with,” he said.
Hadi had sued in 2017 over a Rewcastle-Brown’s 2016 article alleging that several PAS leaders received RM90 million from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in order to covertly support Umno and Barisan Nasional ahead of the 14th general election.
PAS has been mocked over the out-of-court settlement but has insisted that it still obtained a moral victory despite SR continuing to carry the offending article on its website.
The party had also asked the members to donate to a fund amounting to RM3 million to meet the cost of the legal suit against SR for which they had already paid close to RM2.5 million.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is currently investigating the matter.