Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Raja Petra In The UAE's newspapers

By now, Raja Petra (RPK) is a household name in Malaysia. A folk hero, a legend in the making and an icon of Malaysian blogsphere. From parliament to kedai mamak, RPK is the news. He has made into our history book in whichever ways you look.

Of course the syndicated news made it to most world's newspapers, including in the UAE.

Khaleej Times published Reuter's report.

I knew RPK's brother first as he was involved in IT business during 90s. Was about to join his brother's company before joining TV3. Had been to his brother's house several occassions and hopefully his brother still remembers me till now.

I stumbled to his earlier web site (cannot remember the name) before joining his Free Anwar Campaign (FAC) as a representative here. We had communication via email correspondences along the way but never met in real life.

When I returned for holidays few years back without contacting him, I received his message saying, "Tak nak jumpa aku takut masuk ISA ke?"

Still, I had not contacted or met him as I have high regards on him, no other reasons but a bit shy I guess. Not really fond of royalty either.

However, we keep our communication channel and he regularly posts some of my blog entries in Malaysia-Today, appreciate his gestures.

RPK has transcended races in Malaysia by virtue of his freedom of speech struggle. He has a huge group of followers, supporters, admirers and loyal fans. By going to prison instead of bailing himself, he has made bigger impact to prove a point. He will never walks alone even inside the prison.

Once he was heading Free Anwar Campaign, now we have Free RPK campaign all over the world.
He is definitely a legend now!

Malaysia blogger in jail over sedition charges
(Reuters) 6 May 2008
KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian man opted to go to jail on Tuesday instead of paying bail after he was accused of sedition for implying the country's deputy premier had a hand in the murder of a Mongolian woman, his lawyer said.
Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the independent news website Malaysia Today (www.malaysia-today.net), pleaded not guilty to the charge of publishing a seditious article on his website.
"This is becoming a test case," his lawyer, Karpal Singh, told Reuters. "This is the first time a blogger has been charged with sedition."
Raja Petra is charged with implying in a post on April 25 that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife were involved in the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian model.
Najib has denied the allegation through a spokesman, calling it "unfounded" and "designed to tarnish his standing within the Malaysian public".
Karpal said Raja Petra refused the court's offer of bail of 5,000 ringgit ($1,585) until Oct. 6, when the case is scheduled to resume, saying it was a matter of principle.
"He is refusing to go on bail," he added.
If convicted, the 58-year-old Raja Petra could face a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,585), or three years' in jail or both.
Raucous commentary on the Internet has upset the Malaysian government, which is accustomed to respectful treatment by the domestic media on pain of losing their licenses.
Chafed by a government promise not to censor the Internet, authorities are looking for ways to rein in the commentary, which some analysts even see as one reason for a stunning election setback suffered by the country's ruling coalition in March.
In the polls, the ruling National Front coalition surrendered an unprecedented five states to the country's opposition and was reduced to a simple majority in parliament from the two-thirds that had earlier allowed it to change the constitution at will.
A rights campaigner criticised Tuesday's action, saying the government was using Malaysia's broadly worded sedition laws to silence critics and harass bloggers.
"We ... firmly believe that the use of the Sedition Act is being done to protect narrow political interests," said Gayathry Venkiteswaran, of the Malaysia-based Centre for Independent Journalism.
A prominent political analyst, Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, who ran his own think-tank, has been charged with abetting the murder while two policemen were charged with the killing.
All three have pleaded not guilty, but all face mandatory death by hanging if convicted.
The model, Altantuya Shaariibuu, was shot in the head twice and her body blown up with plastic explosives in a jungle just outside Kuala Lumpur in October 2006, days after she came looking for Razak, who in turn was close to Najib.


2 comments:

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Zawi said...

Fudzail,
By going to jail, Raja Petra will create a bigger impact on the people at large to have a negative evaluation of this government. RM5000 is not an issue as the donation that poured in has already exceeded the figure 5 times over.
Maybe Raja Petra is keen to meet with Razak Baginda and his two sidekicks for more personal chat in prison. Razak Baginda was banking on his being freed of all the charges but given the present scenario, he may even ends up at the gallows and thus save the other abetters from being prosecuted.