KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Datuk Seri Hadi Awang alleged he was directed by unnamed parties to abandon his defamation lawsuit in the UK against Sarawak Report (SR) that accused his party leaders of taking RM90 million from Umno.
He purported that he was approached before the general election by a person he did not identify, who supposedly asked him to withdraw the lawsuit against SR editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown.
Hadi claimed he had been reluctant then due to the looming 14th general election but changed his mind after its result.
“When we found out we won Kelantan and Terengganu, did well in Kedah and gained more seats in Pahang, it was a political victory for us.
“Considering the lawsuit was a political case, and because we managed to win (in the elections), so we retracted the case,” he said after attending the monthly religious assembly at the Terengganu state secretariat building today.
Malay Mail obtained a recording of his remarks.
Hadi denied that either he or the party paid Rewcastle-Brown RM1.4 million in legal costs to withdraw his lawsuit against her.
The payment is now believed to have come from the chairman of a government-linked corporation thought to be close to Hadi. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had called in the person for questioning over the payment.
Today, Hadi said PAS was a “poor party” that depended on contributions.
“Some even had given us loans during the elections to cover our deposits,” he said when claiming his party was being singled out with the allegation that it received the RM90 million in return for backing Umno.
The two Opposition parties have now combined in a “marriage” announced by acting Umno president Datuk Mohamad Hasan.
The MACC is still investigating PAS over the RM90 million allegation.
Hadi had sued Rewcastle-Brown in 2017 over a report the previous year alleging PAS leaders took RM90 million to support Umno and Barisan Nasional ahead of the 14th general election.
He inexplicably withdrew the lawsuit filed in London, UK, this year, prompting views that he was no longer disputing the accuracy of the report that remains on the Sarawak Report website.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim subsequently divulged that Hadi had to pay Rewcastle-Brown RM1.4 million to terminate the suit, which she has since confirmed.
Today, Hadi claimed he is not interested in accepting Anwar’s challenge for the former to sue him over the disclosure.
“We don’t want to spend too much time with summons and suits, it takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money.
“We will only ask for the prayers from all over the country, maybe they can have a sembahyang hajat tonight,” he said.