“Assuming that Ambiga insists on keeping her mouth shut, she is liable to action pursuant to law that can be brought against her by Najib and Hadi. The Prime Minister and PAS president will be at liberty to sue her for libel, as her silence can and will be construed as a tacit approval that she was party to fabrications by Sarawak Report. So you see, unless Ambiga wants to get sued, she has no alternative but to break her silence”
THE THIRD FORCE
On the 11th of October 2017, British national Clare Rewcastle Brown filed a Defence and Counterclaim statement at the London High Court in relation to a defamation suit brought against her by Dato’ Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. The suit, filed on the 27th of April 2017 by the PAS president’s United Kingdom (UK) lawyers, pertained allegations by Sarawak Report that he was paid RM90 million in bribe money by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.
To recap, and in brief, Sarawak Report published a comment piece on the 6th of August 2016 that accused Najib of wooing Hadi away from Malaysia’s opposition coalition. According to the UK based portal, the Prime Minister accomplished this “in the normal way” by channelling RM90 million to PAS’ top echelons.” But nowhere in the article was it mentioned when the bribe was solicited or how the author came to know about it.
Not that it surprised me one bit, considering that Ms. Rewcastle spent close to three quarters of a decade carving a name for herself in the fake news hall of fame. Think of her, and the vision a spin specialist wrapping half-baked stories around fabrications and hearsay immediately comes to mind. In her books, Malaysians are suckers for conspiracy and will swallow anything that comes written in the ink of guile and persuasion.
That may help explain why she decided to take things a notch southward on the 11th of October 2017. On that day, she named Dato’ Ambiga Sreneevasan as the person who told her that Najib spent RM90 or so million to grease the palms of some PAS leaders. On the surface, it seems commendable that the Sarawak Report Chief Editor finally decided to come clean on where she got her scoops from. But read between the lines, and you will see just why she admitted to never having sighted anything to the effect that Najib did bribe Hadi RM90 million.
Yes, her Defence and Counterclaim was founded not on evidence, but on suppositions, conjectures and hearsay. Some months back, she told the London Court that she knew for a fact Najib bribed Hadi because it was the truth. But her recent filing proves that her testimony was latched solely on conviction that Ambiga’s sources – who may not even exist – were in the know and trustworthy.
So tell me, how could Ms. Rewcastle have testified under oath that Najib channeled RM90 million to Hadi? Did she not perjure herself by telling a UK judge that her half-baked testimony was the absolute truth? More importantly, does this not go a long way to prove what I have been saying all this while, that the bulk of claims made by Sarawak Report against Najib and 1MDB are nothing but fabrications??
I hope you can see how Ms. Rewcastle is taking both Malaysians and the London Court for a ride. While the onus may still be on her to prove that a bribe was solicited, her defence and testimonies are designed only to drag the trial past the 14th general election (GE14). I am told, the Sarawak Report Chief Editor wants to prevent voters from discovering that nothing she ever said about Najib and 1MDB had any essence of truth in it.
But never mind that.
What concerns me most is the possibility that Ambiga does have ‘evidence’ to prove Najib bribed Hadi. You see, unless the Bersih co-chairperson agrees to make that evidence public, Ms. Rewcastle’s case against the PAS president is likely to collapse. That is to say, the onus is now on Ambiga to declare if the Sarawak Report Chief Editor is telling us the truth or simply lied under oath. Question is, can the Bersih co-chairperson opt to remain silent and wash her hands off the whole affair instead?
Assuming that Ambiga insists on keeping her mouth shut, she is liable to action pursuant to law that can be brought against her by Najib and Hadi. The Prime Minister and PAS president will be at liberty to sue her for libel, as her silence can and will be construed as a tacit approval that she was party to fabrications by Sarawak Report. So you see, unless Ambiga wants to get sued, she has no alternative but to break her silence.
If she does, she has to decide if she wants to distance herself from claims made about her by Ms. Rewcastle or to go along with those claims. In the event she chooses to distance herself, the Sarawak Report Chief Editor’s case against Hadi would collapse, as the London Court will soon discover that she lied under oath. Hadi would then go on to claim the £500,000 or so his legal costs is likely to have snowballed to by now, while Najib would announce that Sarawak Report was proven to be a fake news portal after all.
Of course, that would mean Ambiga could escape being sued by Najib and Hadi. However, if she chooses to go along with Ms. Rewcastle’s claims, she would open herself to lawsuits by the Prime Minister and PAS president on counts of libel. Under the circumstances, the Sarawak Report Chief Editor will immediately buy herself time by telling the London Court that she needs to get in touch with Ambiga’s sources.
So, what is it going to be?
Will Ambiga choose to keep her mouth shut and be sued by Hadi and Najib, or will she decide to open it and wag her forked and poisonous tongue? Either way, somebody’s goose is bound to get cooked. The only thing left for us to see is if it’s Ambiga’s goose that will cook, or if it’s Ms. Rewcastle’s goose that is going to end up on my dinner table before Christmas.