PETALING JAYA – Najib Razak’s denial that PAS received RM90 million from him is a mere political statement and does not alter the London court proceedings between Abdul Hadi Awang and Clare Rewcastle Brown, a lawyer said.
Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al Mahdzar said the statement was merely to appease Najib’s supporters and confuse the public.
“Najib’s statement on a court battle between two individuals has zero value.
“It is akin to him talking to the wall,” he told FMT
Syed Iskandar said this in response to Najib describing Clare’s allegation as “nonsense”.
The Umno president, addressing some 3,000 Umno cyber-troopers at the party’s social media convention on Saturday, said the issue had been inflamed by the opposition to cast him in a negative light because they were feeling politically “nervous”.
“Where did we give (the money)? This is all nonsense,” he said, adding that he could not comment further as the defamation case surrounding the allegation was to be heard by the courts in the United Kingdom.
Syed Iskandar said to be on the offensive, Najib could file a defamation suit against Clare for dragging his name, file an intervener application in the Hadi-Clare legal battle or be prepared to give evidence as a witness for Hadi.
“What matters most is Najib’s testimony in court where the veracity of his evidence could be examined and cross-examined by lawyers before a ruling is made,” he said.
Syed Iskandar said Najib was prejudging the issue by running down Clare’s court pleadings.
“But Najib’s statement of denial before his local audience indicates that he is being on the defensive,” the lawyer said.
It was reported on Oct 30 that Clare, who is Sarawak Report (SR) editor, had claimed in her defence to a lawsuit filed by Hadi that she and former Malaysia Bar chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan spoke about Najib, 1MDB and PAS in July 2016.
Ambiga told the defendant that her sources, whom she said were reliable, had estimated the amount that had been paid was around RM90 million, said Clare in her affidavit dated Oct 11.
Clare’s defence was made in response to Hadi’s defamation suit against her filed in April this year.
Hadi claimed he had been defamed in an SR article published on Aug 6, 2016. The article “reckoned” that money was given to woo PAS to support Barisan Nasional.
In her counter-claim, Clare alleges Hadi colluded with Najib or his agents to exploit the London court proceedings as part of their propaganda effort to exonerate the prime minister.
The whistleblower website editor said they want to discredit her and SR in the website’s justified campaign that Najib be removed from office and be brought to justice for his alleged corrupt and criminal conduct.
In court papers sighted by FMT, Clare said Hadi, whether by himself or his agents, had been party to the publication of a series of articles, viciously or racially abusing, defaming and harassing her on the Third Force and Malaysia Today websites.
Clare said Hadi filed the claim with the aim of protecting the reputation and advancing the political purpose of PAS and his political ally, Najib.
She said the statements in the article were a matter of public interest and claimed at least 10 PAS officials accepted and personally benefited from enormous secret payments from Najib to undermine and withdraw the party from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition.