Author denies Anwar extortion claim, says he was selling manuscript's copyright

Modified 20 Jun 2019, 6:08 am

The author of a manuscript for a book detailing why Anwar Ibrahim is unfit to be the prime minister has denied the claim that he attempted to extort the PKR president when he tried negotiating for a higher price than what was offered by parties interested in publishing the book.

Yahaya Ismail (photo above) said he merely offered Anwar and Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul a chance to purchase the manuscript's copyright, a norm in the publishing industry.

He said attempting to extort the PM-in-waiting would have been the “work of a stupid person”.

“I gave Anwar and Johari a copy to read, and if they want, to buy the copyright. This is normally done in the publishing business.

“I presented copies of the book to several individuals to purchase the copyright. I set the selling price at RM400,000 as I know the book will become a bestseller.

“[...]I was surprised when Anwar said I was attempting to extort him to pay RM400,000. The price is based on the value of my copyright. If he (Anwar) is not interested, he need not buy. There is no coercion as the copyright is mine.

“If I publish the book and Anwar or Johari later say I defamed (Anwar), they can sue. So, what is the problem?” Yahaya said in a Facebook post early this morning.

Yahaya added that he would press ahead and publish the book on his own if no one wished to purchase the copyright.

This came following the allegation by Johari yesterday, in which he identified Yahaya as the author of the book.

Johari, who is also Kedah PKR Leadership Council chairperson, claimed Yahaya contacted him, trying to negotiate for Anwar to pay a higher price than the RM400,000 offered by another party for the book.

“It is time for the public to know who this cheap writer is, who has been paid. He tried to blackmail us to pay him RM400,000. Let the police investigate,” Johari had said.

Meanwhile, Anwar confirmed the case and said Johari had lodged police report yesterday against the writer.

The Port Dickson MP alleged Yahaya was paid or hired to write the book, and said he was leaving the matter to the police for investigations.

Yahaya, however, denied he was paid to do so and insisted he authored the book ‘Why Anwar cannot be PM’ on his own initiative.

He said he has been writing on politics for over 40 years, and even published another book on Anwar in 1993.

Earlier today, the author posted what he claimed were Whatsapp text exchanges with Johari, who acted as a go-between between the former and Anwar.

In the exchange, Yahaya allegedly informed Johari that a “group” was meeting him on June 16 make an offer to purchase the copyright.

One purported text by Yahaya said: “I hope YB (Johari) discuss with Pak Sheikh (Anwar) fast. If interested in buying the book, if his offer is higher than this group, we have a deal. Please act fast.”

To which a text purportedly replied: “I am meeting DS Anwar Ibrahim at about 11.20pm tonite. Just to be sure what I will be saying is right, let me get your confirmation what the offer is. You are ready to take RM400,000 or more from him (Anwar), and you will not print the draft book as sent to me. If he fails to settle for the asked figure, you will talk to other party and the book may be printed.

“I just want to show him the figure. If not, he might say I may have a cut too.”

The response from Yahaya read: “This is right YB, The amount is right, The other party wants to buy the copyright too. They will print as many as they like. It becomes theirs.”


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