23 April, 2009

Raja Petra Kamaruddin goes into "self-exile". ?

Raja Petra Kamaruddin has failed to appear in court for his trial on sedition charges.

A prominent government critic, he has published numerous claims of alleged wrongdoing by senior ministers.

He was detained for two months last year under a law which allows someone to be jailed without trial if thought a threat to national security.

When he failed to appear in court on Thursday morning, a new arrest warrant was issued against him.
His wife, Marina Lee, who paid his bail, was also absent from court .

PETALING JAYA, April 23 (Bernama) -- A warrant of arrest was issued against blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin by the Sessions Court here after he failed to turn up for his sedition trial on Thursday.

Judge Rozina Ayob also issued a show-cause notice to Raja Petra's wife, Mable @ Marina Lee, who is his bailor. She was also not present in court.

Raja Petra's counsel, J. Chandra, told the court that he could not contact his client and was not informed on why the blogger failed to show up today.

However, he said, Raja Petra had posted his reason in his blog this morning, stating that he was in self-exile from Selangor as he had an issue with the Sultan of Selangor.

When asked by Rozina how he knew about the content of the posting, Chandra said he was informed by members of public this morning.

Raja Petra, 59, is charged with publishing a seditious article entitled "Let's Send Altantuya Murderers To Hell" on the Malaysia Today news blog on April 25.

Deputy public prosecutor Shahidani Aziz applied for the warrant of arrest as Raja Petra had failed to give valid reason for his absence from the trial, which was fixed for hearing today and tomorrow.

Rozina allowed the application and fixed May 22 for mention.

Meanwhile, Raja Petra's lead counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, told reporters that he had been unable to contact Raja Petra for several weeks and was only aware about his absence via his blog this morning.

"I'm not sure what was the actual reason for his absence and I need to read his blog for the details since I could not contact him even this morning," he said.


Raja Petra wrote on his site that he feared he would be arrested under a law that allows indefinite detention without trial of suspects who threaten national security.

He was held for two months under the law last year after the government accused him of causing ethnic tensions.

"If I were to turn up in court today I would never be allowed to leave," Raja Petra wrote.

He claimed police had been monitoring him closely and that he had "reason to believe" the government was planning to re-arrest him under the law.

Why I am absent in court today

I wish to explain why I am not going to be present in court today, 23rd April 2009. Firstly, it involves my recent dispute with the Selangor Palace. This dispute was due to my open letter to the Perak Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, which I wrote on 2nd March 2009 in response to the ongoing Perak Constitutional Crisis. My family said I had acted in a treasonous manner and they wanted me to issue a public apology to the Sultan of Perak.

I refused to comply with my family’s demand and instead wrote two articles condemning the Perak Palace for violating the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and for ignoring the wishes of the rakyat. My opinion is no different from that of NH Chan, the former Court of Appeal judge, which you can read in the addendum below.

The Sultan of Selangor was very angry and that triggered a conflict between our two families. My family told me I had brought shame to the family name and they demanded that I attend a family meeting to discuss the matter. However, I did not attend that family meeting and this aggravated the situation.

My family then gave me an ultimatum. I was to either make that public apology or else my family would insert an advertisement in the mainstream newspapers practically distancing itself from me, which could be interpreted as disowning me. My response to that was, and in accordance with the normal action to be taken against a member of the kerabat who durhaka, I went into exile outside Selangor. As a matter of fact, I even missed two recent family funerals, as I could not, and would not, step foot in Selangor ever again.

It has to be noted that this has always been the punishment for any member of the Selangor Royal Family who is considered durhaka since the beginning of the Selangor Sultanate more than 250 years ago. My grandfather, Sultan Musa, was in fact subjected to that same punishment and it is the only punishment befitting a member of the Selangor Royal Family who has courted the displeasure of the Palace.

This means, in short, I can no longer attend the court hearing as the same is heard in Petaling Jaya, which is invariably within the state of Selangor.

The second reason is as follows:

In September 2008, I was detained under the Internal Security Act for what I was alleged to have written regarding the Altantuya murder and the alleged links to those who walk in the corridors of power. However, I am already facing trial on sedition and criminal defamation charges in this court as well as in the Kuala Lumpur court.

Now, my ISA detention in September 2008 was for the same crime as what I have been charged in this court (sedition) and in the Kuala Lumpur court (criminal defamation). This means I am being punished twice for the same crime and the law does not provide for one to be punished twice for the same crime.

No doubt, in November 2008, the Shah Alam court ruled my detention illegal and subsequently ordered my release. Nevertheless, the government is appealing this decision, giving a clear indication that it wants me back in Kamunting whereby I will face punishment without trial on top of the two trials I am being made to face -- which, as I said, are for those same crimes.

The events of late do not give me any confidence that I will get a fair trial. Even if the Petaling Jaya court acquits me, they can still appeal the decision of the court like what they are doing with the Shah Alam court’s decision to free me from ISA detention. And the manner the Federal Court conducted itself during the recent ISA appeal hearing is very troubling indeed and borders on unprofessional conduct.

Finally, my open letter to Nizar Jamaluddin has been classified as treason and the government wants to charge me for treason. The fact that no such law exists will not stop them as they can use the ‘waging war against the King’ law that they used against some of the Al Maunah members, which resulted in them being hanged in the Sungai Buloh Prison in October 2006.

Many of my friends have spotted police vehicles parked outside their house. Others have noticed police officers loitering in front of their residence while some have been summoned to Bukit Aman for interrogation. The police want them to reveal where I am currently residing.

Why are the police looking for me? Two months ago, the Federal Court was in a hurry to hear the appeal against my release from ISA detention. After impatiently rejecting all our applications and refusing to allow us time to file the necessary papers, the court suddenly went cold and nothing was heard from it since.

This got me very suspicious. I did some checking and have reason to believe that a new detention order has been issued and that is why the police are looking for me. If I were to turn up in court today I would never be allowed to leave. The police would immediately detain me and send me to Kamunting and this time I shall not be so fortunate as to see freedom in two months like in the last two occasions.

After two ISA detentions, I do not plan to allow them to get me so easily the third time around. I also refuse to face treason charges that will result in me being sent to the gallows. I love my life and wish to remain alive a few years longer if possible.

Those are the reasons I am not in court today. I shall, however, attend the court hearing when the situation permits, i.e., I am no longer to be charged for treason and I get an assurance from the powers-that-be that the Government’s appeal against my ISA release is withdrawn forthwith and that no new detention order has been issued. After all, if the Razak Baginda acquittal was not appealed upon, why am I being treated differently?

Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin
23rd April 2009

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open letter to RPK

Dear Y.M. Raja Petra

You've seem to have forgotton who your grandfather is , an easy mistake surely.

Quick reminder. It's Raja Sir Tun Uda not Sultan Musa ( grand uncle possibly?).

The inaccuracy or deliberate change of such a simple fact , makes your blogs questionable to say the least.

Then again it may just be a simple typo :).

Kind regards,
Food for thought

May 06, 2009 12:31 AM  

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