The courts are not the place to settle political battles. Combat in courtrooms does nothing for the protagonists; it’s also expensive and slow moving. At the end of it all, the process does not redeem any of the participants—not even the winner. Your election chances do not improve one iota. The truth is that if you resort to using the police to prosecute your opponent, then you are just a bully. You don’t get extra votes for that.
Let’s look at the case of the fine young lady who was prosecuted for throwing yellow balloons in the presence of the Prime Minister. He must have felt insulted for the prosecution to initiate such an action against her. In the first place, a public display of protest, dissent or disapproval of political leaders is common in today’s politics. A hardened political leader should be able to withstand harassment, insult and harsh words.
Why go into politics or public life if you are unable to take such personal attacks in your stride? Be a country gentleman instead, and savour your riches. Drive your Bentley to a nearby golf resort, or better yet, take your lovely wife to Tahiti or the Cayman Islands in a superyacht for good measure. But stay away from politics.
Another “tragic” case is that of PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang vs Clare Rewcastle Brown, now being waged in the London courts. The case is going to be lengthy and expensive. Has PAS somehow managed to raise £2 million pounds from its members to pay the law firm of Carter-Ruck? My friends have told me that Carter-Ruck is probably the most expensive law firm for defamation work, with charge rates of around £600 pounds per hour, equivalent to about RM3,300 per hour.
Hadi must have been told that he will need a lot of money for this case, but perhaps someone wealthy has agreed to underwrite the cost. If there is no wealthy benefactor, will PAS members and the party agree to give a written undertaking to Hadi that they will pay for the fees and cost of the trial? I don’t believe PAS has that kind of money. At the very least, they will not after GE14.
Although I never liked Hadi, especially his brand of politics, I feel sorry for him now. I don’t want those who are “using” him to leave him in the lurch and not pay the lawyers’ fees once the case is settled, which will be the end of 2018 at the earliest. Those who are keen to destroy Clare and Ambiga (and whoever else they have in mind) may not be interested in the case after March 2018.
If the issue of Hadi’s “reputation” really was at stake, why sue Clare in London in the first place, where not many people know of him? The suit should have been instituted here in Malaysia, where millions know him. That’s why I think it’s not Hadi’s reputation that they are seeking to protect. They have something else in mind.
I think the suit is being done in London to make political capital out of discrediting Clare and the Opposition. Hadi’s reputation is not important to these people. He must remember that he alone has to carry the burden long after GE14. His “friends” who are pushing for him to sue might just leave him all alone, probably penniless, after they have used him for the election.
That will be an unfair and painful experience for him and his family. His health is already not good. It would be better if he were to just withdraw the case while it’s still not that costly at this stage. After all, Clare never said he took any money, and Hadi should not take it as a personal insult if other leaders did. The price for him to engage in this legal battle is just too high and totally disproportionate to the damage he perceives to have been done to his name.