Remember what I wrote before?

Anwar said he had been friends with Raja Petra for ten years, and acknowledged the fact that the Selangor prince had “actively” supported him while he was in prison back in 1999. “He ran to London because he did not want to go to prison,” said Anwar.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

What I am going to talk about is not something new. I have already said what I am about to say many times over the last three years or so.

First is the issue of double jeopardy.

Under the law, you cannot be punished twice for the same crime. I, however, was.

After arresting me, charging me, and even as I was still facing trial, the government detained me under the Internal Security Act (ISA). According to the Detention Order, my detention was for two years but that can be rolled over indefinitely.

When I was in Kamunting I met people who were already in their seventh year of detention so there is actually no time limit to an ISA detention. There was one man who had been detained for more than 30 years before he saw freedom.

Nevertheless, the Shah Alam High Court ruled my detention illegal and I was released after only two months. The government then appealed my release and the case went before the Federal Court.

My lawyers protested the irregularities in that appeal hearing and another court agreed with our arguments. It looked like my lawyers were able to block the appeal and what was supposed to be a speedy hearing dragged on.

Suddenly, everything went quiet. Initially, the Federal Court said it wanted the hearing over and down with within a week. Then we heard nothing further from them for a few weeks.

This raised our suspicion. Why had the Federal Court suddenly gone cold when in the beginning they were in such a hurry? And that is when we found out that they were preparing another Detention Order and were going to detain me under a fresh Detention Order instead of wasting time to appeal the decision of the Shah Alam Federal Court on the first Detention Order, which was not working in their favour anyway.

In short, this meant they were going to punish me THREE times for the same alleged crime. This was no longer double jeopardy but triple jeopardy.

The government had to decide whether they wanted to detain me without trial or put me on trial. They can’t do both. They can’t put me on trial plus detain me TWICE under detention without trial for the same alleged crime.

We then got word that the government was going to detain me on Monday, 23rd February 2009. A few days before that, one of Anwar Ibrahim’s people called me for a meeting and advised me to leave the country.

I told him I would not run away but will face the trial. He replied it is not about the trial but about the ISA detention. I may be able to fight the four charges against me. But there is no way I can fight detention without trial since there will be no trial.

I must stay free so that I can continue to write, he told me. The fight must go on. Anwar is also facing trial and there is a strong possibility he will be convicted. We can’t have everyone in jail, he told me. Some have to remain free.

I finally agreed to leave the country (my flight tickets were paid for by some friends in Europe). I left on Saturday, 21st February 2009 and two days later, on Monday, 23 February, the police came to my house to detain me. Of course, by then I was safely across the border. The police waited outside my house for a few hours then went off. They did come back a few more times before they gave up (one of my neighbours confirmed this).

I have to state for the record that Anwar’s people spoke to me to convince me to leave the country. And it was to avoid further detention without trial, not to avoid the trial.

If you can remember, I did write in Malaysia Today that I am prepared to return to Malaysia to face trial if the government can give me a written assurance that I will not, again, be detained under the ISA.

The government refused to give me this assurance and many of you posted comments in Malaysia Today telling me that even if the government does give me that written assurance to not return because the government cannot be trusted to keep its word, even if it is in writing.

As I said, all this has been explained before.

Some people have commented that I am making a deal with the government because my son is in prison and I am trying to save him. This is an insult to my lawyers, J. Chandra and Amarjit Sidhu.

They did a marvellous job in defending my son. Are you saying that my lawyers are dumb arses and did not do a good job? When they took up my son’s case they told me that my son has a strong case and they are extremely confident that they can get him acquitted. (In fact, I initially did not agree that they take up my son’s case because I could not afford the fees but they begged me to allow them to handle the case, for free).

Those of you who personally know Chandra and Amarjit can ask them whether a deal was made or was it because they did a good job to get him acquitted? In fact, he was acquitted without his defence being called.

Anyway, my son is now in the UK and working as a chef in a restaurant. He is not in jail as some of you are saying. Why do I need to make a deal to save my son who you say is in jail when he is already out of Malaysia?

You accuse others of spinning and of distorting the truth. But isn’t the truth being distorted in my case? Why is it wrong to distort the truth when it comes to opposition supporters but okay to do so when you view that person as hostile towards the opposition?

By the way, Anwar has known me since 1963, longer than the ten years that he said he knows me. 1963 is almost 50 years.