Sarawak Report confirmed yesterday, 28 February, that its editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown received RM1.4 million from PAS over the defamation suit filed against her by Hadi Awang
According to Sarawak Report, the payment was part of an out-of-court settlement between the two parties for a defamation suit filed in London.
"There are no documents proving Sarawak Report was not paid. To the contrary, there is copious evidence showing that we were paid by agents of (Datuk Seri) Hadi Awang to allow him to withdraw his claim," the site wrote.
Hadi had filed the suit against Clare at the London High Court of Justice for an article she wrote in 2017
Free Malaysia Today reported that in August 2017, Sarawak Report wrote that top PAS leaders had received RM90 million to convince them to support UMNO and Barisan Nasional. However, following Hadi's suit against her, Clare claimed that her report did not name the PAS president.
Both parties have since agreed to an out-of-court settlement, but terms of the agreement remained unknown until PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently revealed the payment on a Semenyih by-election campaign trail.
"From PAS to Clare, RM1.422 million paid... If I am wrong, sue me," Anwar was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight on 27 February.
Clare had refrained from commenting on Anwar's claim before the Sarawak Report article was published yesterday.
"I note that PAS leaders are making comments which are not truthful (about the settlement) and they shouldn't be (due to the confidentiality clause of the settlement)," she said, according to The Malaysian Insight.
The cheque, published by Sarawak Report, was addressed to Clare's lawyer Americk Sidhu in January
The amount is to cover the legal fees spent by Clare to contest Hadi's defamation suit against her.
Sarawak Report added that it was forced to reveal the cheque after PAS leaders had consistently denied that the payment was made.
"They (PAS) broke the terms of an agreement they themselves imposed not to discuss the terms of the settlement. Therefore, Sarawak Report is entitled to reveal the truth to the Malaysian public and hopes this will draw a line under the affair," the site wrote.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has since acted on the claim of RM90 million allegedly received by PAS leaders in 2017
According to Free Malaysia Today, MACC said it had yet to find any evidence of the RM90 million transacted into PAS accounts.
Nonetheless, MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull stressed that the probe was still ongoing.