PETALING JAYA: Author Yahaya Ismail today denied blackmailing Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul over a book disparaging PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, saying he only wanted to sell the copyright to the book to interested parties.
In a Facebook post, Yahaya, who admitted to having helped Anwar in the past, shared his correspondence with Johari over the book titled “Mengapa Anwar Tak Boleh Jadi PM” (Why Anwar Ibrahim cannot be PM).
Yahaya said he sent the book to Johari and Anwar to ask if they were interested in buying the copyright but did not receive a firm answer.
On June 15, Yahaya told Johari that another group was interested in buying the copyright to the book for printing.
“I hope YB (Johari) will discuss with Pak Sheikh (Anwar) quickly if he is interested in buying the copyright. If his offer is higher than this group’s, we have a deal, YB. Please act fast YB.”
Yahaya claimed Johari had asked him how much the copyright would cost, to which he said the “other group” was offering RM400,000. If Anwar could offer more, he said, he would accept it.
“For your info YB, I did help Pak Sheikh before in 1993 when he contested against Ghafar Baba, and another time when he contested in Permatang Pauh. Both times I wrote books and campaigned for him.
“Unfortunately, I was not given what I was promised. I hope Pak Sheikh will consider me favourably this time. He is facing the biggest challenge now. Hope YB you can convince him to buy the copyright. Tq YB, salam,” he said.
Yahaya claimed Johari then said he would meet with Anwar to discuss the matter and explain Yahaya’s offer.
“You are ready to take RM400k or more from him, and you will not print the draft book as sent to me. If he fails to settle the asked figure, you will talk to the other party and the book may be printed.”
But, Yahaya said, he never received a response.
“Read my WhatsApp to YB Johari. I wanted to sell my copyright to Anwar and other interested groups.
“The issue of blackmail does not arise at all. Please understand and do not lie to the people.”
Yesterday, Anwar said he would leave it to the police to take action against Yahaya for allegedly threatening to publish a book disparaging the PKR leader.
At an earlier press conference, Johari had said he would lodge a police report over the alleged defamation of Anwar. He also said the manuscript he received of Yahaya’s book contained “serious and defamatory” allegations about the Port Dickson MP.