“The truth will out” is a piece of folk belief that people nibbling on the edges of the sensational resort to when they have hit a seeming dead-end.
Their confidence that the truth about matters of great and puzzling importance being able to barrel out of the vaults within which it is buried into the light of public disclosure is not widely shared.
This is because the truth is usually protected by an army of lies which, as Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels said, needs only to be dinned often enough for it to be taken as true.
The truth about whether RM90 million of 1MDB funds found its way into the accounts of an opposition party, an Islamist one no less, was going to be difficult to disinter.
That is because when Clare Rewcastle-Brown of Sarawak Report unleashed the story about RM90 million of 1MDB funds having made its way into the accounts of PAS, she made it quite clear that it was widespread speculation on the political grapevine that was her source, not something more substantive.
In legal terms, one can be convicted of wrongdoing on the balance of probabilities, but not on speculation, however plausible.
So Rewcastle-Brown’s airing of what was being bruited about on the grapevine was, strictly speaking, as vaporous as morning mist.
Sans the potency of fact as backing, speculation is just that: mist
After Rewcastle-Brown aired the speculation on Sarawak Report, PAS countered that the story was a base canard but they were in no hurry to nail it in a court of law.
This was puzzling for two reasons.
First, the party was in the process of pushing in Parliament for further empowerment of Syariah courts, a campaign aimed, they argued, at combating supposedly pervasive moral turpitude in society.
Combatants against immorality must take quick umbrage of any imputation of immorality against them and sue for damage to their reputation.
The second reason why PAS’ tardiness in seeking legal recourse was surprising was that they have long projected themselves as guardians of Islamic rectitude.
Justified by ‘exigent service’?
It has not entered the realm of supportable Islamist conduct for it to be seen that an ingestion of RM90 million into the PAS coffers may be justified by some interpretation of the concept of “takeyah” – exigent service of an end that may justify illicit means for their achievement.
Thus no Islamist can be cavalier about any inference that he is on the take.
True, PAS kept saying that they were in the process of seeking legal redress, but after seven months of circuitous reasoning, neither Sarawak Report, Rewcastle-Brown, nor their latest accuser before Rafizi Ramli, former PAS vice-president Husam Musa, is in any legal jeopardy from their supposed mudslinging.
However, the truth, like buried gold which is useless unless unearthed, does indeed have a way resisting permanent interment.
But like Banquo’s ghost, it prefers to hover around suspects before it alights on the real thing.
All that buzzing appears to have shifted into sharpened focus with what MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli, renowned distiller of the hidden, disclosed in Parliament’s lobby yesterday.
His disclosures had the features of a striptease. He has to be quoted in his own words because that’s the best way through the mist that has come to shroud the issue of the RM90 million.
As reported on this website, this is what Razifi said:
“I put the question to Hadi whether or not he is confident that none of the… money from Najib’s account went to a figure who is closely associated with PAS.
“I have this information and since the general election is looming, we need to bring up this matter and (I will reveal this) in one or two weeks.
“I will also wait for PAS to react because some of them know what I mean,” he said.
That cathartic flush that PAS MPs demonstrably felt when party president Hadi Awang tabled Act 355 yesterday may well turn out to be not the pinnacle of Islamic rectitude they professed but a precipice critics say they have been flirting with.
TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for more than four decades. A sobering discovery has been that those who protest the loudest tend to replicate the faults they revile in others.