Who lost the plot? (UPDATED with Chinese Translation)

You talk about the first BERSIH march of November 2007 and how that turned the tide that eventually saw the opposition win big in March 2008. Do you know that many in UMNO were supportive of BERSIH? Do you know I had many meetings with UMNO people on how to make the BERSIH march a success? Ronnie Liu can confirm this. He met some of these UMNO people in the house of one DAP supporter, who is also Ronnie’s supporter.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I am said to have lost the plot. This is because of my interview with the New Straits Times, which was published on New Year’s Day. Some have demanded to know why I consented to the interview by the various mainstream media knowing that they would distort what I said, or at least sensationalise it and focus on the parts ‘damaging’ to the opposition while blacking out the parts that are damaging to the government.

First of all, I did not ‘consent’ to the interview. Consent is hardly the right word to use when it was I who asked to be interviewed. Yes, they did not approach me. I approached the NST.

Of course, at first they were taken aback. Why would I want to talk to them, ‘the enemy’?

Was it not I, against the party wishes, who launched the ‘Boikot NST, Utsuan and TV3’ campaign in 2000 (together with the late Rustam Sani, Zul Sulong and Zunar)?

Incidentally, the party refused to endorse the campaign on grounds that if the opposition is serious and genuine about freedom of the media then we should not be boycotting anyone just because they do not say nice things about us. And when the party ordered us to abandon the campaign I refused to do so and instead launched it outside the party. (Nurul Izaah was our guest who spoke at the launch and when, for the first time, I saw her speak, I immediately realised she can be our hope for the future).

Was it not I who refused to allow the mainstream media entry into the hall to cover the PKR convention in Kelana Jaya and they had to complain to the party leadership who ordered the ban lifted and for the mainstream media to be allowed into the hall?

Incidentally, I also received a lecture about respecting the freedom of the media on top of that, much to the chagrin of my wife who had placed guards at the entrance with orders to break heads if necessary in the event the mainstream media tries to gatecrash the convention.

So why should I want to talk to the mainstream media and risk getting whacked again after the whacking I got because of my TV3 interview in April last year? (The interview was actually done in February but they held it back till just before the Sarawak state elections – which, I must admit, was very clever of them).

I have my reasons and there is nothing that says I have to explain why I do what I do and what is the strategy behind what I am doing. If I reveal my strategy then it is no longer a strategy. Anyway, who are you that I need to confide everything I do to? As long as those in my team and in my circle know what I am doing, that is good enough for me. They have been told and they know what I am up to although some of them may cringe at my modus operandi and the unpredictable manner in how I respond to questions.

But then have I not always been unpredictable and unconventional? So what else is new? Even the party found me unpredictable and unconventional. Many times Anwar Ibrahim had to send me letters from prison to chide me on what I do. There have been occasions when the party leadership discussed my actions during the supreme council meetings, which even the party found unpalatable. My response was, if they don’t like what I do then sack me. But don’t expect me to do things their way. I do things my way and if that is not acceptable to the party then I will move on.

It came to a stage that even my wife could no longer tolerate the tight leash that the party was trying to put around my neck. Finally, she insisted that I pack my bags and leave and start my own website. Then I can do what the hell I want to do and the way I want to do it without any party leaders breathing down my neck.

Hence we started Malaysia Today. And our founding charter was that we will be independent and will not take sides. Nevertheless, we will still be fighting for change as how we had been doing over the six years before that. And for almost eight years since the birth of Malaysia Today that is exactly what we have been doing all along.

No one determines the rules in how I operate — not the government, not the opposition. If I wish to work with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he turned against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that is my choice. And I did just that in 2006 and 2007.

Of course, Azmin Ali whacked me publicly during the PKR convention in Penang for ‘selling out’ to Dr Mahathir. But why must I explain to Azmin what I am doing? Who is he to me that I need to confide in him?

In 2008, Dr Mahathir launched ABU (yes, it was Dr Mahathir who launched ABU in case you want to know). He told the UMNO members during a press conference to not vote UMNO in the 2008 general election. Vote anyone but Umno (or ABU). He met the Chinese association leaders and told them to support the opposition, especially in Penang, Abdullah Badawi’s home state, resulting in the opposition taking over that state.

I don’t care whether Dr Mahathir is sincere about supporting the opposition or whether he had ulterior motives — such as to bring Abdullah Badawi down. Dr Mahathir’s charity is not my concern. How the opposition can benefit by Dr Mahathir becoming UMNO’s enemy is. And that is what I focused on.

Of course, my actions are puzzling to many, especially when I do not confide in them and they have to second-guess my actions. Well, that is their problem, not mine.

You talk about the first BERSIH march of November 2007 and how that turned the tide that eventually saw the opposition win big in March 2008. Do you know that many in UMNO were supportive of BERSIH? Do you know I had many meetings with UMNO people on how to make the BERSIH march a success? Ronnie Liu can confirm this. He met some of these UMNO people in the house of one DAP supporter, who is also Ronnie’s supporter.

Yes, the first BERSIH march was in collaboration with some key UMNO people. They even made caps and T-shirts, which I distributed to all and sundry. Where do you think I got the money to make those caps and T-shirts if not from the UMNO people?

Today, some of those UMNO people have joined DAP.

So don’t tell me what I should do or what I can or cannot do and how I should do it. If you are not happy then you do not need to come to Malaysia Today. You do not need to read what I write.

Since the mid-1990’s I have been writing for the opposition, starting with Harakah in the mid-1990s followed by the Reformasi websites in 1998 and the Free Anwar Campaign in 2000 and Malaysia Today since 2004. I have been whacking the government since 1978 when UMNO brought down the Kelantan government and declared an emergency in the state.

Anwar Ibrahim was not even in the government yet at that time. It was not until five years later that he joined UMNO. And I have been opposition all that time while Anwar ‘sold out’ and joined UMNO.

I have never minced my words. I have always stated in the many interviews that I gave that many of us felt betrayed when Anwar joined UMNO. I stated in my interviews that I resented Anwar for betraying the cause. And when Dr Mahathir kicked him out in 1998 we were delighted and said: serves you right (padan muka).

Yes, I have said this before and I make no apologies for saying that. I have earned my right to say it.

In 1998, Anwar launched the Reformasi movement. Many of us did not get involved. We stayed far away from the street demonstrations and refused to support the movement. As far as we were concerned this was a movement to save Anwar’s arse, not a movement for reform or change. So we refused to get involved or to support it.

Then Anwar’s trial started and I refused to go to court to follow the proceedings of the trial (until Rosli Ibrahim phoned me and asked me to go in to court because Anwar wanted to see me). And that was the first time in years that I shook his hand. In fact, Anwar grabbed me and hugged me and I pushed him away (jokingly of course) while saying that the last person he hugged was sentenced to six months in jail (meaning Sukma).

Whether Anwar was or was not guilty of sodomy was not really our concern. We knew that Dr Mahathir wanted to get rid of Anwar because Anwar posed a threat to him and Dr Mahathir was using the sodomy charge to bring Anwar down. We knew this back in 2007 and actually discussed this amongst friends (James, if you are reading this you will know I am talking about you).

So Dr Mahathir ‘played dirty’. Yes, we knew that. And we also knew that Anwar also tried to do a number on Dr Mahathir. It was a case of two people playing dirty and one lost and the other won.

Nevertheless, there was no justification for beating Anwar up. And there was also no justification for fabricating charges against him and putting him through a sham trial. We drew the line on that one, never mind that Anwar made his move first and Dr Mahathir merely retaliated, but with an even dirtier plot.

And that made us who at first stayed away come forward to defend Anwar. They crossed the line so we forgave Anwar for his betrayal in joining UMNO and came out to fight for him.

I am not dumb. I knew that Anwar could be a catalyst for change. The people will rally behind him and will support the fight for change. Hence, Anwar can be an asset in the fight for change (just like how Dr Mahathir was in 2006-2008).

But it is about change and Anwar as the catalyst for change. It is not about Anwar per se. And if you are too dumb to see this and therefore would like to boycott Malaysia Today because you are too dumb to see this then be my guest. Good-bye and good riddance. We need thinking people, not people with a herd mentality who can be led like sheep.

Translated into Chinese at: http://ccliew.blogspot.com/2012/01/blog-post_104.html