KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has scored his first victory in a defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown earlier this week, his political secretary Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said.
In a statement on PAS’ HarakahDaily website, Samsuri said London courts have ordered Rewcastle-Brown to pay £15,000 (RM84,000) or two-thirds of the cost to Hadi after she failed to convince the court to compel Hadi to pay a deposit to cover her legal costs.
The order was delivered in proceedings on August 2, where Rewcastle-Brown estimated the cost to be £800,000 (RM4.5 million).
Hadi, represented by the law firm Carter-Ruck, had argued that Malaysia laws allow Rewcastle-Brown to claim her cost through Malaysian courts should she win the suit, which would amount to not more than RM80,000.
Hadi’s suit is over a Sarawak Report article last year claiming that PAS leaders received funds linked to sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Hadi is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages and an injunction preventing Rewcastle-Brown from repeating the allegations.
Samsuri said the courts have also rejected Rewcastle-Brown’s argument that she would have failed in the attempt to sue Hadi in the Malaysian system, as it is allegedly corrupt and in collusion with Hadi.
Hadi was allowed by the courts to pay merely RM80,000 for deposit, he said.
Samsuri also said the courts have also ordered Rewcastle-Brown to enter her defence in 21 days and denied a leave for appeal.
Malaysiakini however quoted Rewcastle-Brown giving a different account of the proceedings, claiming she was given 28 days to file a defence, while Hadi has 21 days to pay the deposit.
“The master in the pre-trial case management hearing said he felt he couldn’t make a judgment on my application,” she was quoted in an email reply.
“So, he said he would have to rule that I could trust Malaysia’s judicial integrity — he ordered I should pay [two-thirds] of the cost of that particular application.”
Rewcastle-Brown has also asked for the reason why Malaysian High Commission’s staff had accompanied Hadi’s legal team.
In his statement, Samsuri had explained that the High Commission was there to observe the proceedings, following Rewcastle-Brown’s many allegations against the country and Putrajaya in her case submission.