PAS leader Hadi Awang has today publicly told questioning media that he would not comment on the contents of the Nik Abduh tape (now acknowledged to be genuine) because he had not listened to it and does not apparently intend to:
“I didn’t watch the video. I didn’t read (about it). Hence I don’t want to comment.”
“Let’s see if it is true or not. (I’ll have to) read it first. There are a lot of things and I’m busy with other matters.”
“It depends on whether I have time. I have a lot of other work. I have no time to listen to things that happened in the past.”
“Whether it is true or not, I have to see first,” [Malaysiakini / Malay Mail]
he said to reporters, who were seeking confirmation about Nik Abduh’s claim that Hadi had given him permission to lie that the audio was a fake.
Yet, Hadi had submitted a detailed analysis of the content and meaning of the tape to the London court in his response to Sarawak Report’s defence, giving his interpretation of the various confessions by Nik Abduh about PAS receiving money from UMNO on 10-11 occasions, including RM2 million for the Sarawak 2016 elections.
In this court statement the PAS president provided an explanation as to why in his opinion the words did not actually mean that the party had received large sums of money from ‘stupid UMNO’.
What’s more he had told the court in no uncertain terms that he accepted that the recording was indeed true and not a fake.
To have authorised these remarks in this section of his sworn statement to the court Hadi would have had to have listened to the recording (or he must now blame his top London lawyers for submitting a false and unauthorised statement). So, why all these claims of ignorance now?
Below is the segment in which Hadi went into detail about what Abduh said and why he did not think the words were defamatory (which Nik Abduh had said they were):
The Nik Abduh tape
90. As to paragraph 26A(11), it is admitted that a recording of Nik Abduh speaking at a meeting was published on the internet at around this time. Nik Abduh did not during that meeting admit or confess that either he, the Claimant or PAS had been “complicit in corruption” as alleged by the Defendant. During the meeting Nik Abduh discussed the long standing PAS policy described above in paragraph 86*. He referred to charitable donations which had been received in the 1990s by a charitable trust run by Nik Abdul Aziz towards the construction of a religious school and a mosque, and charitable donations which he, Nik Abduh, had received during his time as an MP to provide aid or welfare to his constituents, such as during the Malaysian flood emergency in 2014. His suggestion that the Claimant had received similar donations was false. Nothing that he said was, was intended as, or can properly be construed as an admission, let alone evidence, of the corruption which the words complained of alleged against the Claimant and PAS [underline added].
*Read Paragraph 86
The Claimant’s alleged fatwa permitting PAS to take substantial sums from UMNO
86. Paragraph 26A(7) is denied.
86.1. For many years, as pleaded by the Defendant, there has been a perception of corruption in Malaysian politics and political life. UMNO had been part of the governing coalition in Malaysia since the 1950s and was in many respects synonymous with the federal government. One of the consequences of this was that financial assistance, grants or aid from the federal government could be perceived as gifts from UMNO. This created a dilemma for PAS members or supporters, as to whether the receipt of such financial assistance from the federal government was permissible in Islam, or amounted to impermissible corruption.
86.2. Equally problematic was the receipt of charitable donations from private individuals towards religious or charitable projects run by PAS members or supporters. Given the dominance of UMNO in political life, and given that UMNO was a largely Malay and Muslim party whose members and supporters would likely share charitable aims with the members and supporters of PAS, it was inevitable that PAS members or supporters would potentially be in receipt of such donations from UMNO members or supporters. Further, as the Bersih Report cited by the Defendant points out, political parties, particularly UMNO, had a habit of publicly handing out
small gifts in cash or kind to voters, especially at around election time, and during election rallies. That created a further dilemma for the PAS member or supporter as to whether it was permissible in Islam to accept such gifts.
86.3. It had long been the policy of PAS, as determined by the PAS Council of Scholars, that the acceptance of government grants was permissible, as long as the recipient was properly entitled to the funding in question. Similarly the PAS Council of Scholars had determined that the acceptance of charitable donations from individuals connected to political parties or small gifts from political parties were permissible for PAS members or supporters to accept, as long as they did not allow the receipt of such funds to influence their choice of vote.
86.4. This policy was propounded by Nik Abdul Aziz, long before the Claimant became the President of PAS. For example, in the election of 1990, one slogan put forward by PAS was the phrase in the Kelantan dialect “Kalau bagi duit, ambil. Kalau bag! gula, kacau. Kalau bag! kain, pakai. Bila undi, pangkah bulan.” which roughly translates as “If they give money, take it. If they give sugar, stir it. if they give cloth, wear it. When voting, cross for the moon” (i.e. vote for PAS, the moon being the symbol for PAS).
86.5. This long-standing and public policy of PAS was not altered or amended in any way by the Claimant, whether as alleged in paragraph 26A(7) in August 2017 or at all.
86.6. The final aspect of the PAS policy in relation to gifts or grants from the UMNO-led government, or from members or supporters of political parties other than PAS was that it was strictly forbidden, and contrary to Islam, for
the party or for party members or officials to accept for their personal benefit covert payments of significant sums of money offered by way of political bribes, such as the sums referred to in the words complained of and alleged in the Amended Defence. That policy has remained firm and consistent under the Claimant.
This new line from Hadi continues a pattern in this case of saying one thing in Malaysia and another to the London court. The documents are there for all to see and they do not match his public remarks.
All this makes it ever clearer by the day for those who didn’t know the details about the case why Hadi and his colleagues in PAS decided to pull the plug before they had to answer questions in the witness box.