Now that he is PM, Najib must not victimise Raja Petra

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara Keadilan

Pakatan Rakyat leaders have asked Prime Minister Najib Razak not to victimize the country’s most popular blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who ran a scorching series of revelations about his purported misdeeds including a report from French newspaper Liberation linking him to the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu.

They also demanded that Najib immediately clarify if a new Internal Security Act detention order has indeed been issued against RPK, as he is also known, and if a decision was made to charge him for treason or some “equally serious capital offence”.

“It is a mark of the inability of Najib as the new Prime Minister to command public confidence that more and more Malaysians share Raja Petra’s grave doubts about the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary,” said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

“If not, is Najib prepared to make two public commitments that under his premiership, Raja Petra will not be victimized and will not be detained under a fresh ISA detention order and will not be charged for treason or equally serious capital offence for what he had done so far?”

A man for all seasons, a Malaysian for all Malaysians

The 59-year old RPK is more than just a well-followed writer and news editor. He is a key figure, with iconic status, in the crusade for a fairer and just Malaysia.

With his often tongue-in-cheek writings and controversial political discourse, he played an instrumental role in the re-awakening of the pro-democracy movement in the country. His years of activism finally helped sow the seeds of a two-coalition political system, which after five decades of monopoly by the ruling Umno-Barisan Nasional is a major step forward.

For these reasons, he has long been the target of a government blacklist that includes opposition leaders like reform icon Anwar Ibrahim and Kit Siang himself. Both Anwar and Kit Siang have been warning of a hard crackdown once Najib finds himself unable to shake the growing popularity of the Pakatan movement despite all ways and means – both fair and foul.

They expect him to revert to form and bring out Malaysia’s most famous weapon – the infamous ISA. An oppressive law originally intended to be used against terrorists, the ISA allows for indefinite imprisonment without trial. Of late, it has been used increasingly against political foes including writers and editors like RPK, already a two-time detainee.

On Thursday, an arrest warrant was issued for him after he jumped bail, saying that if he came to court he would have been seized immediately and made to serve what could be an endless jail term. This time on other trumped-up charges of treason against the Perak Sultan. RPK was facing sedition charges over an article entitled Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell.

“Is Najib prepared to make the further commitment for the withdrawal of the government’s appeal to the Federal Court against Raja Petra’s release under the ISA in November when the Shah Alam High Court ruled that his ISA detention was illegal,” said Kit Siang.