Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Clare Rewcastle Brown is butthurt that I’m about to lodge an MACC report against Ambiga (READ HERE) later today and has taken another swipe at me and Raja Petra Kamarudin. Following is the article she published via Sarawak Report:
“Eventually, Sarawak Report’s lawyers filed a counter suit against Hadi Awang for damages relating to the use of information in RPK’s articles and in articles in the Third Force blog, whose writer has publicly described RPK as his ‘mentor’. Sarawak Report’s lawyers also submitted a list of some 100 offensive, foul mouthed and defamatory articles penned by RPK and Third Force, which sought to use the case brought by Hadi to discredit Sarawak Report and to assert that by extension Najib Razak was innocent over 1MDB, which RPK regularly described as a hoax made up by Sarawak Report to undermine UMNO”
RPK Still Spinning ‘Inside Info’?
As the Secretary General of UMNO steps forward to back Hadi’s withdrawal of his defamation case against Sarawak Report (admitting that it had been part of PAS’s election strategy only) Najib’s most loyal blogger RPK has maintained his chorus of support for Hadi, seeking to imply inside knowledge about the conclusion of the case::
“..there is no order for costs, which means both sides pay their own costs, and Clare claimed she has spent about RM2 million or so thus far. Why would Clare allow Hadi to get away without reimbursing her for the RM2 million she has wasted if her allegation is true and Hadi lied?…..”
[Malaysia today –The Hadi-Clare Case: It Was Suka Sama Suka, Not Rogol]
As has been well rehearsed in public now, the agreed terms of settlement of the proceedings are confidential and so RPK’s speculation is on the face of it uninformed. But the continuing spin from RPK follows a pattern of PAS party collaboration, fact-twisting and apparent leaks to pro-Najib bloggers that dogged the conduct of Hadi’s case from the very start, at a time when PAS support for UMNO was being vigorously denied.
Playing politics via a legal case
Throughout the course of the defamation suit brought by Hadi Awang, Sarawak Report has pointed to evidence that the entire case was primarily a political exercise on the part of his political party PAS, as opposed to a genuine concern over Hadi’s personal reputation.
PAS had made public on numerous occasions that it wished to demonstrate to potential voters that concerns about the party receiving money from UMNO were ill founded. In 2016 Sarawak Report had made reference to those widespread concerns in the report complained of on its site (which remains available here).
Political parties have no status to sue for libel. Sarawak Report sources close to PAS say that at a meeting to discuss PAS’s options for tackling the rumours, a decision was made that Hadi would lodge a suit in the UK based on the argument that Hadi himself had been defamed in the article (even though his name was not mentioned).
Sarawak Report has always maintained that the article does not refer to Hadi personally. Hadi’s lawyers Carter-Ruck did threaten proceedings in the name of PAS in their first letter to Sarawak Report in December 2016, despite presumably knowing that a political party did not have standing to sue. PAS was then quietly dropped as a party before proceedings were issued in Hadi’s name alone in April 2017. Carter-Ruck’s rationale for threatening a baseless claim (against an unrepresented party) has never been explained.
According to several sources, the key advocate for Hadi taking action and the man who became one of Hadi’s closest advisors communicating with the London lawyers, Carter Ruck, was the senior party figure Raja Idris Kamarudin (working together with Hadi’s then-political secretary Dr Samsuri Mokhtar and the secretary general of the party Takiyuddin Hassan in assisting Hadi to manage the case funded through PAS). Hadi’s lawyers later confirmed that Raja Idris was acting as Hadi’s agent in the litigation.
Raja Idris Kamarudin, who is distantly related to the royal family of Selangor and holds a public position in the PAS state of Terengganu, is the brother of the infamous blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (known as RPK), who has been the subject of multiple defamation complaints by numerous parties, including Sarawak Report.
RPK has made no secret about being paid to write pieces attacking the opponents of those who engage his services and during the run up to GE14 he made no secret either of acting as the ‘proxy’ of then prime minister Najib Razak.
It was therefore surprising to find that when Hadi Awang issued his writ in the London High Court he included as one of his prime witnesses none other than RPK, who has been widely condemned as an unreliable and patently untruthful character, who had already demonstrated an extreme bias against Sarawak Report. RPK was going to give evidence as to the harm Sarawak Report’s article had done to Hadi personally in England.
Indeed, Sarawak Report’s legal team soon had reason to issue a number of formal complaints to Carter Ruck pertaining to RPK publishing information known only to the parties and their advisors about the case – information that was being distorted in order to taunt and villify the defendant.
Hadi never provided an answer as to how information had leaked to RPK by PAS and his legal team claimed that he was not in a position to restrain the libellous articles attacking Sarawak Report penned by the brother of his key agent in the litigation Raja Idris Kamarudin. London lawyers Carter Ruck asserted that the defendant’s complaints about ‘third party’ bloggers was “melodramatic”.
A witness statement by Sarawak Report’s lawyers detailed the nature of the harassment:
1.1 There is a strong basis for linking the Claimant to the harassment of the Defendant during the course of these proceedings, including co-operation with those who are intimidating the Defendant and the Defendant’s prospective witness. For example, one of the main perpetrators of the harassment, abuse, defamation and threats which are interfering with these proceedings is the Claimant’s own prospective witness in these proceedings in that the perpetrator’s evidence is relied on by the Claimant in the Particulars of Claim.
1.2 Despite many requests made to the Claimant’s solicitors to agree to take steps to help bring the harassment and intimidation of the Defendant and her prospective witness to an end, the Claimant has refused all such requests and suggested that they are an attempt to distract from the litigation and are melodramatic….
During the course of these proceedings, it has become apparent that information relating to the proceedings has been passed to the Malaysian authorities (which continues to seek to arrest the Defendant) and to the perpetrators of much of the harassment, threats and abuse directed at the Defendant. The Claimant denies responsibility for sharing information with the perpetrators of the harassment, but accepts that it is a possibility the information may have reached the perpetrators as a result of a relationship with or connection to the Claimant and/or his political party PAS.
Further extensive details of the harassment campaign pursued by RPK and its links to Hadi’s legal team were included in the 41 page witness document, about which Hadi and would have faced extensive and uncomfortable questioning during trial:
Eventually, Sarawak Report’s lawyers filed a counter suit against Hadi Awang for damages relating to the use of information in RPK’s articles and in articles in the Third Force blog, whose writer has publicly described RPK as his ‘mentor’.
Sarawak Report’s lawyers also submitted a list of some 100 offensive, foul mouthed and defamatory articles penned by RPK and Third Force, which sought to use the case brought by Hadi to discredit Sarawak Report and to assert that by extension Najib Razak was innocent over 1MDB, which RPK regularly described as a hoax made up by Sarawak Report to undermine UMNO.
Read the details of Sarawak Report’s Counterclaim against Hadi Awang:
That argument was corroborated yet again on Wednesday by none other than the General Secretary of UMNO, who stated that Hadi was right to withdraw his case because its original purpose had been to stop damage to the party at GE14 arising from widespread concerns amongst PAS members that money was flowing from UMNO.
The election was over, Annuar Musa told journalists, so why fly to London? “Now it’s game over”.
Sarawak Report withdrew its counter claim against Hadi as part of the ending of these court proceedings. However, as a result, the allegations over deliberate leaks between Hadi’s advisors and the likes of RPK and the questions over collaboration with UMNO remain unjudged by the British court. Sarawak Report has invited PAS to comment.
Read the Witness Statement detailing alleged harassment by RPK here:
Source: Sarawak Report