My right to talk about RM90 million case, Sarawak Report editor tells PAS

Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown says the settlement reached with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang makes no mention about her right to freedom of speech.

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown has dismissed a PAS leader’s remark that she should stop bringing up the “RM90 million case” following her out-of-court settlement with party president Abdul Hadi Awang.

Speaking to FMT, Rewcastle-Brown said the consent order as part of the settlement only specified that the claimant, Hadi, discontinue his claim, and that she withdraw her counterclaim, with no order as to costs.

“It does not say anything about my right to exercise freedom of speech,” she said in response to the remarks by PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

“He (Amar) may not like me talking about the case, but PAS has also been talking about the case,” she added.

Amar had said he did not understand why Rewcastle-Brown was still writing and attacking PAS on the issue. He said she was bound by the agreement and should not be prolonging the issue.

Hadi filed the defamation suit at the London High Court over an article published by the Sarawak Report alleging that RM90 million was “reckoned” to have entered the accounts of top PAS leaders to woo them into supporting Barisan Nasional and Umno.

Rewcastle-Brown said the turn of events was a lesson to be careful about bringing libel cases to court for political purposes.

“If PAS was not really planning to go to court and be cross-questioned, it should not have brought a libel suit to court in the first place.”

Commenting on the matter, lawyer Ang Hean Leng said the terms of a settlement agreement would determine if parties involved in a libel suit can speak on the case after the settlement.

“If there is no such requirement, any individual is free to do anything unless they are constrained by the law or an agreement.”