Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown is being questioned by police in Bukit Aman, believed to be with regard to the defamation suit filed against her by Sultanah Nur Zahirah of Terengganu.
Lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu, who is representing Rewcastle-Brown in the defamation suit, said the police have just begun questioning her, without a lawyer present.
“She would be done in an hour or so, and she would like to speak to the media afterwards.
“It would be an opportune moment for the media to go to Bukit Aman, to see what she has to say,” he told Malaysiakini when contacted.
The sultanah had, two months ago, filed the suit against Rewcastle-Brown over a supposedly defamatory statement on page 3 of the her book, The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé.
The statement, which is part of the book’s prologue, reads: "Jho was also friendly with a key player in Terengganu, the wife of the sultan, whose acquiescence was needed to set up the fund and he later cited her support as having been crucial to his obtaining the advisory position.”
The sultanah’s lawyer Mohd Haaziq Pillay Abdullah had demanded that Rewcastle-Brown, the book’s publisher Gerakbuaya Enterprise and printer Vinlin Press Sdn Bhd issue a full, written, and unequivocal retraction and apology for the allegedly defamatory statement contained in the book.
The Sarawak Report has since clarified that the passage does, in no way, suggest that the sultanah was involved in either the 1MDB scandal, or with fugitive businessperson Jho Low, who is said to be the mastermind behind it.
"...We suspect this matter has been deliberately misinterpreted to the sultanah by people seeking to cause trouble and assure her that a careful reading of the short passage should make it clear there is no allegation made against anyone in the Terengganu royal family regarding the 1MDB affair, which took place after any involvement by the state ceased in that fund.
"We are sorry if she has been upset by any misinterpretations of our meaning and trust this clarifies the matter,” a statement by the whistleblower website had said.
However, this explanation did not appease the sultanah’s legal team, with Mohd Haziq saying it does not amount to an apology, and thus, they would press on with the lawsuit.
Jho Low, or Low Taek Jho, is a Malaysian financier and close associate of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and is alleged to be the mastermind behind the purported misappropriation of billions of ringgit from 1MDB, which was founded by Najib.
Low has denied any wrongdoing but is wanted by the authorities in several countries, including Malaysia, to facilitate investigations into 1MDB.
On Sept 14, the Terengganu Royal Council of Regency issued a statement declaring that Sultanah Nur Zahirah was never directly or indirectly involved in any government administrative affairs and, in particular, the establishment of the TIA, which was set up as a sovereign wealth fund in 2008 and was renamed 1MDB a year later.