Lawyers, acting for PAS president Hadi Awang in a legal case being waged in London against Sarawak Report, have now conceded that a controversial recording said to be of a senior PAS MP, Nik Abduh, is genuine.
Speaking in court yesterday barrister Jacob Dean confirmed that Hadi will not contest the authenticity of the recording, removing the need for expert forensic evidence to identify the speaker. Hadi’s lawyers further indicated that Nik Abduh and possibly others present at the time of the recording (thought to include Hadi’s son-in-law, Zaharuddin Muhammad), would be among the witnesses his client plans to call to give evidence at trial:
As a result of the indication about the number of witnesses which both parties intend to call, the Judge ordered that the trial, due to start on 1 April 2019, should be listed for 11 days.
We anticipate 8 or 9 witnesses [for] issues raised by the truth defence. There are allegations that owners of a religious school received funds. Allegations that the claimant’s political secretary, who was running the election campaign, knew of relevant payments. Then [that] the claimant’s close associate, Dr Marzuki, finally admitted that PAS had received a payment….
It seems likely he [Dr Marzuki] needs to give evidence. [Also the] Treasurer of PAS. Also 3 trustees of an account that is said to have received corrupt funds, at least one possibly two of those [trustees]. That takes you to six. Then there is the man on the tape, Nik Abduh. That’s our preliminary estimate for witnesses on what is pleaded….. [Jacob Dean, barrister for Hadi Awang]
Dean informed the judge that Hadi intends to fly the above people from KL to support his case in London, in order to contest those allegations in the Sarawak Report’s Defence.
The decision to concede that the voice on the recording was indeed Nik Abduh, stood in marked contrast to previous public denials made by Nik Abduh himself and also appears to conflict with statements made by PAS before the General Election.
The controversial statements on the recording itself included the following translated remarks:
“During the Sarawak Election, people did co-operate with UMNO to defeat DAP. Regarding the monetary issue, the fatwa [legal opinion] was already in place. It was apparent that Tok Guru Nik Aziz took UMNO’s money, Tok Guru Haji Hadi took UMNO’s money, I took UMNO’s money, everyone accused took UMNO’s money!!
Among the reasons why we succeeded was with UMNO’s help. UMNO helped us to achieve victory. In 10-11 of these activities. That is us being smart. Umno is stupid. Why do people keep asking us about UMNO’s money? This issue is now over. Tok Guru Nik Aziz took a considerable amount of UMNO’s money. Not a problem? Tok Guru Harun Din, not a problem. This meeting today not a problem.
…. I have met Tok Guru Haji Hadi. Tok Guru Haji Hadi said lucky you taking UMNO’s money. Just do whatever we want. But do not use the money for our private matters. For our personal gain. Instead, use it for Islamic purposes. That’s why we have good relations with UMNO today… why Najib can even accept RUU amendments [Translated]
On 28th February, following the release of the recording online, Nik Abduh denounced the recording on his Facebook page, describing the claim that the speaker was him as ‘rubbish and slander’ and threatening that God would punish those responsible for making what he called defamatory actions by disseminating the tape and for suggesting the speaker was him:
“The claim that it is me speaking in the conversation is all nonsense and slanderous.
“PAS is a party that doesn’t get involved in matters that are prohibited by Islam, including taking bribes from Umno and following DAP around.” [translation by Malaysian Insight]
Later he made statements publicly reported in the press as claiming that the recording was a “fake” and an election ploy created by his political enemies, again describing it as ‘defamation’.
“They want to tell voters that PAS is with Umno. That is why the recording was created.” [Free Malaysia Today]
On April 5th he issued other denials, including on Twitter, but confirmed he would not make an official complaint:
Likewise, PAS secretary general, Takiyuddin Hassan rejected demands for a prompt investigation by the party into the matter saying again that it was being ‘concocted by PAS’ enemies.’
“This is a trivial matter… we will still look into it but at our pace and we will not be pressured to do so by Amanah leader Husam Musa.”
“It is a waste of time,” …..
Takiyuddin said Husam must also produce proof of where the audio was recorded and who recorded it, and above all prove that it contained the voice of Nik Abduh, who is the former PAS Youth chief. [Berita Daily]