Hadi: Suing Sarawak Report necessary; Pas forgives Nanyang over caricature

NST TEAM

ALOR STAR: Pas' move in filing a defamation suit against news portal, Sarawak Report, is necessary to protect the party against baseless allegations.

Its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the party could not compromise on the false allegations made by the portal and its founder-cum-editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown which had clearly smeared the party's reputation.

"It was meant to protect the party's integrity against unfounded allegations," he said.

Hadi stressed that Sarawak Report's case was different from local vernacular daily, Nanyang Siang Pau's publication of a caricature that allegedly mocked several political leaders, including himself and Parliament speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

He said while Pas was willing to forgive Nanyang Siang Pau, the party could not compromise on Sarawak Report's false allegations.

"We have decided that it (legal action against Sarawak Report) is necessary to protect the party's integrity. The truth must prevail.

"We can forgive Nanyang for its mistake in running the caricature but not Sarawak Report because it affects our integrity," Hadi said after opening the 63rd muktamar today.

Brown had claimed that the Pas president had personally received a large sum of cash from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in exchange for the Islamic party to compromise on its political stand and on certain issues.

On April 21, Hadi had initiated defamation proceedings against Brown at the Queen’s Justice Division High Court in London.

Hadi is seeking damages including aggregated damages, for libel in respect of words published by the defendant in an article titled ‘As Najib Denies All Over 1MDB, Let’s Not Forget His Many Other Criminal Connections – COMMENT’.

Hadi is also seeking an injunction to refrain the defendant from publishing the same or similar article and other relief.

Pas had embarked on a donation drive to raise some RM200,000 for the legal suit expenses during the ongoing muktamar and as at noon today, the party has collected about RM23,150.