Mon May 13 2024

Stand with Rewcastle-Brown, donate to 'freedom fund'

Human Rights
This article features :

Originally published on Malaysiakini Published: May 9, 2024

May 9, 2018, witnessed the collapse of BN after six decades in power. The 1MBD scandal was one of the main factors that led to the regime change.

Now, on the sixth anniversary of the watershed general election, Engage is appealing to Malaysians to help The Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who was instrumental in exposing the scandal.

Engage has relaunched its “Freedom Fund” to help the UK-based Rewcastle-Brown, Gerakbudaya and Vinlin Press.

Last December, the Court of Appeal ordered the trio to pay RM300,000 in damages and RM120,000 in legal costs in equal proportion to the Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah for defaming her.

The “Freedom Fund” was first launched in 2015 to provide financial assistance to those whose rights under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution have been affected, meaning, they are either fined, jailed, sacked, or had privileges withdrawn.


“So far, around RM128,000 has been raised by Rewcastle-Brown from the UK, we are still short of RM292,000.

“While the case is still under appeal to the Federal Court, the three respondents still have to standby the full sum in case the Federal Court upholds the decision and the amount is needed to be paid in full,” said Engage in a statement.

However, the NGO said if the Federal Court overturns the decision, the sum collected would remain part of “Freedom Fund 2.0” to help others that fulfil the support criteria.

“The alleged defamation was a simple matter of mistaken identity in the first version of Rewcastle-Brown’s book ‘The Sarawak Report: The Inside Story of the 1MDB Exposé’, where the sultan’s sister was misidentified as the sultanah the person who introduced Jho Low to the Terengganu Investment Authority.

“Though this error had been corrected in subsequent versions of the book, the legal action continued.

“Furthermore, the government initiated another criminal defamation action against Rewcastle-Brown and the case was moved to Terengganu, the complainant's home state and the Magistrate’s Court sentenced Rewcastle-Brown to two years in jail in the absence of the accused.

“No notices, summons or information was given to Rewcastle-Brown’s lawyers to prepare her defence or for her to appear. This is highly irregular,” it added.

‘RM10 to Say Thank You’

Engage said most Malaysians are aware that the 1MDB scandal was one of the major reasons that led to the fall of BN.


“As such, on the sixth anniversary of GE14, we want to appeal to the Malaysian public to stand with Rewcastle-Brown, the two Malaysian small businesses that published and printed her book by donating ‘RM10 to Say Thank You’ for their courage in exposing corruption in Malaysia,” it added.

For this crowdfunding exercise, Engage has partnered with Malaysiakini's Sokong crowdfunding platform for NGOs.

Donors can click on this link and donate their "RM10 to Say Thank You" or any amount, using their credit/debit cards, Grab e-wallet or FPX.

Alternatively, donors can bank in directly to Engage’s Freedom Fund 2.0 account at:

Account holder: Engage Citizen Network PLT

Bank: Public Bank Berhad

Account number: 323 866 9514

Reference: Clare

“It is our hope that Malaysians would respond generously to this appeal. Malaysians owe Rewcastle-Brown and the team behind The Sarawak Report a huge debt of gratitude and we should not let them or the small businesses bear the burden alone.

“The bigger impact if we fail to raise the needed funds is that it would have a chilling effect on press freedom in Malaysia, that there are no guarantees investigative journalism that exposes the powerful and corrupt will be defended by the citizens,” said Engage.

by malaysiakini

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