An Amanah leader has urged his former comrades in PAS to "act like a gentleman" and stop defending PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's move to settle the suit against Sarawak Report out of court.
Amanah supreme council member Hanipa Maidin said the very least they could do is to remain silent, rather than "twisting" facts surrounding the suit.
"With all due respect, I would like to say this. As the suit has been withdrawn, be a gentleman.
"Just admit the party that filed the suit was not confident to proceed to trial, let alone to win the case.
"Don't twist (the facts). At the very least just keep quiet," the Sepang MP said in a statement.
Hanipa, who is also de facto deputy law minister, said he initially had no interest to comment on the issue but was prompted by a "senior PAS leader" who reportedly maintained that Sarawak Report has no proof over claims that BN paid the Islamist party RM90 million for its support.
"I'm sorry I can't keep quiet reading such statements which, forgive me for saying, looks like an attempt to fool the people.
"Maybe such statement is easy to be 'sold' to blind loyalists, but not for those who can think," said Hanipa.
Hanipa pointed out that any evidence must be tendered in court during trial, and Sarawak Report will no have opportunity to submit its evidence, now that the suit has been settled out of court.
He further reminded that the news portal had previously submitted an audio recording, said to be of a PAS leader admitting to the subject of the defamation suit, and this was not challenged by PAS' lawyers.
"When there is such an audio recording of an admission, that means the person will be summoned as a witness.
"As a witness, they will be questioned by lawyers in London. But unfortunately all that will not happen because the suit has been withdrawn," said Hanipa.
"So no proof or no courage, YB?," said Hanipa, in reference to PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown had claimed in the article dated Aug 6, 2016, that former premier Najib Abdul Razak was wooing PAS ahead of the general election, and that RM90 million had flowed into the accounts of the Islamist party's top leaders.
Hadi proceeded to sue Rewcastle-Brown for libel in London on April 21, 2017, over the allegation.
On Feb 1, it was reported that the PAS president decided to settle the matter out of court.
In response, Rewcastle-Brown had declared the settlement as a vindication given that she did not need to remove the said article from her portal.