“Malaysians can now rest assured that Sarawak Report is nothing but a fake news portal that fabricated email transcripts, shopping receipts, banking documents, money trails and what have you, none of which were authentic, none of which would hold in the court of law”
THE THIRD FORCE
Last Wednesday, the 2nd of August 2017, a group of British lawyers representing PAS President Dato’ Seri Abdul Hadi Awang attended a Case Management hearing in London. The hearing was to decide the amount Hadi needed to deposit as security with the court in relation to a civil suit he is bringing against Clare Rewcastle Brown, the Chief Editor of Sarawak Report.
The suit pertains allegations by Sarawak Report that the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, bribed the PAS president with RM90 million, money that Ms. Rewcastle claims originated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). To date, she has yet to furnish the court with evidence to substantiate her claims despite being given ample time to do so.
Yet, she asked the judge to fix £800,000 (about RM4.5 million) as the security Hadi needed to deposit with the court. The PAS president, on the other hand, offered to pay just RM80,000, arguing that the sum was “sufficient and uncontroversial.” Not only did the court accept Hadi’s offer, it ruled that Ms. Rewcastle herself needed to pay costs worth 15,000 pounds (about RM85,000) immediately and the balance upon assessment of the total cost.
Now, here’s the thing – the London court has given Ms. Rewcastle until the 23rd of August 2017 to submit evidence to support her claim that Najib bribed Hadi with RM90 million. That’s 18 days from now, more than enough time for her to compile the truckloads of “smoking gun evidences” she claims to have against the administration of Najib Razak. Question is, why hasn’t she done it yet?
I mean, we’re talking about the very lady who, for the past seven or so years, dished out article after article implicating the Government of Malaysia and Najib of fraud and conspiracy. Every so often, she would tell Malaysians that her articles bore “smoking gun evidences” that would “hold in any court of law, anywhere in the world.”
If indeed that were true, wouldn’t the submission of such ‘evidences’ have convinced the judge that Najib was a shoddy character capable of bribing someone like Hadi? Did it not occur to her that her articles alone – the ones that bore “smoking gun evidences” – could have prompted the judge to set £800,000 as the security deposit?
Instead, her only defence was that Hadi, being a Malaysian national, could default in payments should she win the case. But Hadi’s lawyers disagreed, citing the fact that she was at liberty to sue him in Malaysia in the event a default occurred. An excerpt from a statement by the PAS president’s political secretary sums up what transpired in court quite beautifully:
“Carter-Ruck (Hadi’s lawyers) successfully argued, assisted by a legal opinion from a law expert in Malaysia, that there exist well-established laws between the UK and Malaysia that allows for CRB (Clare Rewcastle Brown) to claim the costs through the law courts in Malaysia, incurring a cost of not more than RM80,000.
“Based on his confidence on the case from the beginning, TGHA (Tuan Guru Hadi Awang) had already offered to deposit this amount with the court, which was sufficient and uncontroversial.
The argument didn’t go down well with Ms. Rewcastle, who then told the London court that the Malaysian judiciary and its Prime Minister were corrupt and complicit with Hadi. Now, tell me, does that sound like something you would tell a court of law without evidence to back your claim? Did it not occur to Ms. Rewcastle that her line of reasoning only leaned the edge of credibility further in Hadi’s favour?
Not only was her argument shot down by the judge, it was pointed out to her that she had many months to come up with evidence to back her claims but failed to do so. In fact, the court made it clear that it could not blindly label a sovereign state (or its judiciary) to be corrupt without sound evidence, particularly since the United Kingdom (UK) and Malaysia shared good bilateral relations.
And let us not forget, we’re talking about the Malaysian judiciary, the very judiciary that granted far more victories to the Malaysian opposition than it did the Malaysian government, averaging 8:2 in favour of the opposition. As a matter of fact, the Malaysian Bar has even been accused of being partisan against government, with evidence pointing to funds being channelled from a dubious foundation, known to have links with world terror organisations.
If Ms. Rewcastle’s aim was to piss the judge off, she was likely successful, considering that it would take a hell of a nutcase to tell a judge that “I ignore letters lawyers send me because none of them seem to end up in court.” At least, that was along the lines of what she told the court when questioned why she ignored the three notices that were sent to her last year. Now, isn’t that just like telling a court, “I’m a habitual delinquent, who makes a living out of pissing people off?”
So dumb is this Ms. Rewcastle, she probably doesn’t realise that her failure to submit evidence to the London court prompted its judge to deliver an a priori judgement against the idea that Najib or the Malaysian judiciary were corrupt. In other words, it has now been established that the claims Ms. Rewcastle made all this while were nothing but works of fiction.
And that means, Malaysians can rest assured that Sarawak Report is nothing but a fake news portal that fabricated email transcripts, shopping receipts, banking documents, money trails and what have you, none of which were authentic, none of which would hold in the court of law.