Clare Rewcastle Brown’s revelation that Sarawak Report received RM1.4m (GBP260,000) towards it legal fees in an out-of-court settlement has put the spotlight firmly on Pas president Hadi Awang and his key party colleagues, who have been unflinching in their support for him.
The bombshell has come on the eve of the by-election for Semenyih, where the Umno candidate is banking on votes from Pas supporters in his bid to wrest the seat from Pakatan Harapan.
As they say, a week is a long time in politics. Only last week, Umno-BN was confident that momentum was on their side.
But yesterday, we heard that the MACC was seizing assets including luxury cars belonging to Pas leaders. This followed the allegation that Pas had received RM90m in bribes from Umno, made in a Sarawak Report article on 6 August 2016.
It remains to be seen what impact Rewcastle’s revelation will have on the outcome of the by-election, where Anwar Ibrahim had raised it as an issue. Hadi and other Pas spokesmen now have the proverbial egg on their face a day before polling.
I am guessing, it won’t win the unofficial Umno-Pas pact any new supporters. The question is, will existing Pas supporters just stay home?
The larger questions in the medium term are, will Pas supporters call into question Hadi’s leadership of the party and to what extent will there be a loss of confidence in a party which has touted its religious credentials?