The Pakatan Harapan’s perception engine has been working overtime ever since Hadi Awang and Claire Rewcasle-Brown agreed in out of court settlement and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenivasan questioned how PAS spent the donations for the legal costs their supporters provided. “Never start a battle you cannot finish! You now owe it to the Malaysian people or at least your members to account for the money spent and for its origins,” she wrote on Twitter.
Khalid Samad said that the out of court settlement showed PAS’s true colours. Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng today questioned if PAS’ agreement to settle out-of-court its defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown could mean that the allegation against the Islamic party is true.
“As Najib Denies All Over 1MDB, Let’s Not Forget His Many Other Criminal Connections” was published by Sarawak Report on 6th August 2016 suggesting that Hadi received 90 million RM for PAS’s support during the 14th General Election whereby Barisan Nasional lost to Pakatan Harapan coalition.
Hadi had filed the suit in London in 2017 and on August 2, 2017 case management took place and it favoured the PAS president. London Court had also made it clear that in the absence of evidence, the court could not accept that another sovereign state that has good ties and relationship with UK is corrupt. Rewcastle-Brown was ordered to pay Hadi two-thirds of Hadi’s costs with the balance assessed by the courts.
By dropping the lawsuit, Hadi’s position has not decreased. Claire was unable to produce the evidence required to support the claim to London courts. While Pakatan Harapan is now the government of the day and Claire is now a celebrated “whistle blower”, even with Pakatan Harapan’s backing she produced any evidence nor made any complaint to Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Stranger still, Sawarak Report alleges that it was Ambiga Sreenivasan who was the source of the information that it published and yet to date Ambiga has yet to act on it.
Pakatan Harapan often considers allegation is crime is proof of guilt. It’s approach to Najib Razak’s 1MDB being case and point. The reality is that it is the alleger who needs to provide evidence and the alleged is innocent until proven guilty. With Claire’s inability to provide evidence, Hadi and PAS remains innocent.
The reality is Pakatan Harapan coalition has been extremely jittery with two things. The first being the UMNO-PAS alliance that has brought a massive Malay voter support to Barisan Nasional’s side. The other being the recent Cameron Highland’s by-election where Pakatan Harapan suffered loss of support from the voters. Pakatan is extremely nervous about Semenyih by-election as it plays the only card it knows – corruption.
If Claire produced fake allegations to help Pakatan Harapan, what else did she fake ? Claire’s mistake opens up questions on Pakatan Harapan’s credibility. Credibility that has been taking a massive hit since it won the May 9 general elections last year. No amount of misdirection towards PAS or UMNO could possibly turn things around.