PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A top Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) leader has claimed the opposition outfit's president Abdul Hadi Awang had given his "blessings" for him to deny that it was his voice on the recording alleging that it had received RM2 million (S$670,000) from Umno.
The clip is a key piece of evidence backing allegations that PAS received a total of RM90 million from Umno before the latter was toppled at last year's general election.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday (Feb 13), Bachok MP Nik Abduh Nik Aziz said he was torn between admitting the truth that it was indeed his voice and denying the audio recording.
"I had two choices. One is to tell the truth and admit. Second, to deny it. It was a closed door meeting to a targeted audience. Very closed. My right was to keep the secrecy and not to betray it. Both were syariah-compliant choices," he said.
The audio recording Mr Nik Abduh referred to was leaked and went viral early last year.
Mr Nik Abduh - who is the son of revered preacher Nik Aziz Nik Mat who died in 2015 - said he initially opted for the first option but then realised that the issue did not involve only him, but the party as well.
"Even though the recording was leaked to mar my reputation, it was also aimed at causing the downfall of PAS," he said.
"Every PAS leaders I referred to asked me to deny. I refused, but they insisted. Slander must be shut off, they argued. GE14 was heating up and Pakatan Harapan was attacking PAS viciously," he said in reference to last year's general election.
He said in desperation, he approached Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi.
"The President quickly gave me his blessings to deny it. I was happy to follow the mandate (from Abdul Hadi). Slander was shut off and PAS bravely entered GE14 and managed to retain its strength in parliamentary and state assembly seats," said Mr Nik Abduh.
His lengthy admission on social media came in the wake of PAS admitting on Tuesday that it was indeed Mr Nik Abduh's voice in the leaked audio recording.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan has defended Mr Nik Abduh, saying that the MP himself admitted this, but the recording did not reflect the entire conversation.
"He admitted it was his voice, but said it did not portray the actual context, it was not just about PAS receiving money from Umno, there were other things. In order to understand the context of the audio recording, we have to listen from the first minute until the end, then only we will understand everything," he told reporters in Kelantan on Tuesday.
Mr Nik Abduh said he decided to tell the truth at the courts in London and to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probing the case.
"There are three institutions that changed my first choice (to tell the truth) - the party, the court and the government's investigation MACC. Malaysia is the country which has the right over me," he said.
The MACC started its probe into PAS after a report was made following claims that Mr Abdul Hadi had received the funds from 1MDB accounts.
This came after the PAS president agreed to an out-of-court settlement for his defamation suit against Britain-based Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.
Mr Abdul Hadi had sued Ms Rewcastle Brown for libel over an article she published on Aug 6, 2016, alleging that the party had received RM90 million in bribes from then ruling party Umno.
She filed a counterclaim in October 2017, but last Friday, the case was settled out of court.