Where’s your suit, Sarawak Report editor asks PAS

Clare-Rewcastle-Brown-sarawak-report-pasPETALING JAYA: It has been more than three months since a deadline expired for Sarawak Report to comply with PAS’ demands over an article claiming that the Islamist party’s top leadership received RM90 million from Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Its editor, Clare Rewcastle Brown, however, said lawyers for PAS in the United Kingdom have yet to file any suit against her nor the news portal to realise their threat.

“They threatened to sue me within a week if I didn’t do lots of things in mid-December… but didn’t,” she told FMT in an email reply.

She said this in response to a query whether PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang or the party had taken any legal action against her and Sarawak Report in the UK since the threat was made.

Meanwhile, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan did not respond to FMT, despite a WhatsApp message being sent yesterday.

In early December, Takiyuddin had said the party’s lawyers in the UK 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 Razak’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.

Meanwhile, 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 added that some lawyers, depending on the complexity of the case and other factors, would normally file a suit as soon as possible.

“But it must not be unduly long as the sting of the defamation would decrease over time.”