PETALING JAYA: PAS has not served a claim on Sarawak Report for defamation although a deadline to retract an article claiming the Islamist party’s top leadership received RM90 million from Prime Minister Najib Razak has lapsed.
Its editor, Clare Rewcastle Brown, in an email reply to FMT said no documents had been served on her.
“Nope,” was her reply to a question whether PAS lawyers had sent a writ and other documents to show that they wanted to see her in court.
Meanwhile, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan did not respond to FMT, despite a WhatsApp message being sent and several calls made to his mobile phone.
Takiyuddin had said the party’s lawyers in the United Kingdom had sent a letter of demand to Sarawak Report on Dec 13.
He said the letter contained three demands, urging Sarawak Report to retract the article dated Aug 6, 2016, and to issue an apology according to terms agreed by the party.
The third demand seeks Sarawak Report to give an undertaking not to publish false accusations in future.
The seven-day ultimatum expired on Dec 20.
Sarawak Report had alleged that RM90 million was “reckoned” to have entered into the accounts of top PAS leaders.
The money transacted, it claimed, was one of Najib’s attempts to “woo” the PAS leadership into supporting Barisan Nasional and Umno.
The allegation was criticised by PAS leaders, including its deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who was reported to have said PAS would take legal action for the ill-intentioned report to tarnish the party’s reputation as well as its Islamic policies.
Lawyer S N Nair said a litigant who sends a notice would be quite serious to sue if the demands were not met.
“Otherwise, it is an empty threat which does not indicate seriousness of any injury he/she claims that is caused,” he said.
He said some lawyers, depending on the complexity of the case and other factors, would normally file a suit as soon as possible.
Nair said it must not be unduly long as the sting of the defamation would decrease over time.
“Even the court may not take the plaintiff (the aggrieved party) seriously for delaying the suit unless a good reason is given,” he said.
Nair said this was not a legal requirement but purely based on logic.