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PAS right to settle Sarawak Report suit - Umno sec-gen

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PAS made the "right move” in deciding to settle its defamation suit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa said today.

Annuar opined that PAS had to take action against the whistleblower site at the time, as the purportedly defamatory article could have affected the party in last year's general election.

He was referring PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang filing suit in London against Rewcastle-Brown for libel in April 2017, over a 2016 article alleging that the party received an RM90 million payoff to support BN and Umno.

PAS initially attempted to seek public funding to meet part of the legal costs, before Hadi agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Rewcastle-Brown.

"But now, it’s 'game over'.

“If you ask me, I don't want to fly from Kuala Lumpur to London, flying up and down attending court cases. It is not a cheap thing spending hundreds of thousands, maybe millions just to settle a small issue which is a non-issue to PAS, maybe," he said in an interview with the Malay Mail.

“I think PAS chose the right strategy. They want to focus on their business and they want to move forward.

"Otherwise, they are being dragged and entangled into an old issue that is not even relevant to their direction now," he added. 

Annuar added that Umno being linked to the case would not affect its newfound cooperation with PAS for the coming Semenyih by-election.

"That has nothing to do with Semenyih. Rewcastle-Brown writing about it is one thing, but (former prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak's account has been investigated (in other criminal probes).

“If Najib has given RM90 million, I’m sure all the documents are already in the hands of the government now, but there is nothing."

Najib had recently denied ever paying PAS or its president RM90 million.

Bernama today reported that the MACC has begun investigating the alleged RM90 million payment.

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