A former aide to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has rubbished a claim by party vice-president Rafizi Ramli that the head of a GLC implicated in PAS' alleged RM1.4 million payment to Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown is not Anwar's “best friend”.
In a statement today, Ezam Mohd Noor alleged that the businessperson is indeed a close acquaintance of Anwar.
"I knew him about 20 years ago at the height of the reformasi struggle when Anwar was my boss.
"Anwar introduced him (the businessperson) to me as his good friend who was in the same batch with Anwar at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), back in the 60s.
"Anwar told me that the businessperson (a Datuk) had expressed his willingness to help Anwar's family weather their predicament, on the basis of their friendship," said Ezam.
When Anwar was jailed on his first sodomy charge in 1998, the GLC boss helped Anwar's family, via the latter's wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and this included funding the overseas medical costs of the late brother of Anwar, paying the legal fees of Anwar's lawyers, and providing bail money for reformasi supporters who were jailed, Ezam alleged.
The businessperson also funded PKR's expenses, and took care of the deposits of PKR candidates contesting in the 11th general election in 2004, he claimed.
'Generous person slandered'
According to Ezam, the businessperson had also assisted politicians from PAS and Umno when they were in need.
"I'm revealing this today for the sake of truth and justice, and because I'm upset that a generous person is being slandered without having the right to be heard, especially from those who have received his help in the past.
"I would like to remind my former colleagues in politics not to forsake moral qualities for the sake of political power.
"His (the GLC boss's) generosity is evident from the fact that he is helping his friends during tough times when they are not in power. So, there are no elements of graft," he stressed.
Ezam cautioned Rafizi, who he said was "still in school" during the reformasi period, to not "play with fire".
"I don't want to be dragged into a political debate as I'm no longer a politician, and since today's politics is all about thirst for power and riches, without moral considerations.
"I just want to defend an individual who had contributed so much to me and others."
Ezam served as Anwar's political secretary between 1996 and 1998, and is one of the founding members of PKR.
He also served as the party's youth chief from 1999 to 2006.
Ezam, however, has since fallen out with Anwar, whom he publicly criticises now.
Last Friday, Rafizi, in a Facebook posting, had dismissed attempts by PAS supporters to link the businessperson to Anwar.
The businessperson is said to have banked in the RM1.4 million as part of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang's out-of-court settlement with Rewcastle-Brown over a defamation suit.
He claimed that it was Hadi's family who was close to the individual, and also published a photograph of the PAS president with the GLC boss.
Hadi had sued Rewcastle-Brown in London over a 2016 Sarawak Report article which alleged that then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak channelled RM90 million to top PAS leaders in a bid to secure their support ahead of the 14th general election.
However, both parties had reached an out-of-court settlement.
Rewcastle-Brown confirmed that Hadi had paid RM1.4 million through her Malaysian lawyer Americk Sidhu, but PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan claimed that the account number, which Rewcastle-Brown had alleged to receive the payment from, was fake.
However, Rafizi later revealed that the 10 digits were part of a 14-digit Bank Islam account number belonging to the GLC boss.