Raja Petra Kamarudin
|Raja Petra Kamarudin|
|Prince of Selangor|
Raja Petra Kamarudin (pictured July 2007) has been investigated by the police for comments posted on his website, Malaysia Today. In the background is Raja Petra's wife, Marina Lee Abdullah.
27 September 1950 |
|Spouse||Marina Lee Abdullah|
|Father||Raja Kamarudin bin Raja Tun Uda|
|Mother||Che' Bariya Kamarudin
(née Barbara Mabel Parnell)
Raja Petra bin Raja Kamarudin (born 27 September 1950) is a Malaysian editor known for running the Malaysia Today website and publishing a series of commentary articles on Malaysian politics in the website. He is sometimes referred to by the initials RPK. He is currently residing in Manchester, England.
He was detained for a second time under the Internal Security Act, at 1.10pm on 12 September 2008. On 7 November 2008, Raja, 58, was freed from detention after Shah Alam city High Court Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad granted his habeas corpus petition and ruled that his detention was illegal. The court noted that "the grounds for the detention order by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar for the blogger did not fall under the scope of Section 8(1) of the ISA."
In May 2010 Cheras Umno Division chairman Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee called on the government to strip Raja Petra of his citizenship on the grounds that his activities could affect the peace of the country.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Political involvement
- 3 Second ISA detention
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Feud with Najib Tun Razak
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Born in Surrey, England, Raja Petra Kamarudin was educated at the Alice Smith School. At the age of 13 he went to further his studies at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, completing his education at the Victoria Institution. As his father died when Raja Petra was 22, he began to support his mother and three younger siblings by working as a rice distributor and motorcycle dealer, introducing Yamaha and other Japanese motorcycle brands to the country.
In 1973 he married Marina Lee binti Abdullah, with whom he had five children.
Raja Petra is a member of the Selangor royal family. He is the nephew of the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia and the seventh Sultan of Selangor. His paternal grandmother Tengku Badariah was the elder sister of Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah, the second Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the eighth Sultan of Selangor. His paternal grandfather, Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj Bin Raja Muhammad, KBE (1894–1976), a distant cousin of his wife's family, was twice Menteri Besar of Selangor during the colonial era, the first Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang (1957–1967) and Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. His father, Raja Kamarudin bin Raja Tun Uda (1925–1971), studied law in the UK and worked for Unilever until his death. His mother, Che' Bariya Kamarudin (née Barbara Mabel Parnell) (1933–1980), was Welsh.
Raja Petra was a leading member of Parti Keadilan Nasional (now Parti Keadilan Rakyat)—the party set up in response to the arrest of former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. On 11 April 2001, Raja Petra and ten other opposition activists were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly plotting to overthrow then prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. He was released 52 days later.
Raja Petra started the Malaysia Today website and his blog to facilitate open discussion on Malaysia's political and social scenes. In his online writings, he is often humorous and sometimes critical of the current political developments in Malaysia. He advocates for transparency, accountability and justice in the Malaysian political system. He often denounces what he sees as deeply rooted money politics, corruption, and ethnic polarisation in Malaysia.
On 2 July 2008, Malaysia Today was defaced by a person known only as "Gasakdotnet", replacing the website with a superimposition of Mahathir Mohammad's face into the poster of the film We Were Soldiers accompanied by the tagline "My Countrymen, My Fellow Malaysians", alluding to Mahathir's "battle" for Malaysia as the Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. Poor internet connectivity affecting several areas in Malaysia hampered efforts to restore the website promptly.
Second ISA detention
Raja Petra filed a habeas corpus application at the High Court on 16 September 2008 seeking his release from detention under the ISA. On 22 September the Malaysian Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar signed an order to remand Raja Petra to the detention facility for up to two years under section 8 of the ISA. Ministerial orders for remand under section 8 cannot be challenged in court.
Raja Petra was held without trial under the ISA at the Kamunting Detention Centre in northern Perak state, which had 60 ISA detainees, mostly suspected Islamic extremists. The ISA permits an initial detention of two months for investigation, followed by a two-year jail sentence which can be renewed indefinitely. The 1948 ISA is a holdover from British colonial rule, intended for use against communist insurgents. Raja Petra's wife Marina Lee Abdullah said: "(Police) said my husband has been sent to Kamunting this morning and that he will remain there for two years with no trial. This is the worst news I can receive but we will keep fighting for his release. This is dirty foul play by the government as they know that we are in the process of fighting for his release in the court but I was expecting this. Raja Petra was detained for allegedly 'insulting Islam' and publishing articles on his website which has tarnished the country's leadership to the point of causing confusion among the people." Raja Petra's lawyer sought his release in a court hearing but this was dismissed. Raja Petra's detention caused widespread protests by civil society groups, lawyers and other online commentators.
Meanwhile, in Kota Kinabalu, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) led by its Secretary-General Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, joined its three other Barisan Nasional (BN) counterparts MCA, Gerakan and MIC petitioning the Government review of the ISA. Madius said the party supports former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim's position that the ISA should only be used against those who posed a threat to national security, such as terrorists: "Clearly in the case of Seputeh MP, Teresa Kok, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and Sin Chew Daily reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, there are so many other public order laws that can be used against them if, at all, there is a case to do so."
Muhammad Muhammad Taib
On 23 July 2007, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, UMNO's Information Chief at that time, lodged a police report against Malaysia Today at 12.57 p.m. at the Tun H.S. Lee police station, under Section 121 (B) and Section 123 of the Penal Code, Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 263 and Section 266 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, for a 11 July blog entry on the website deemed to contain writing that insult the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, degrade Islam and incite hatred and violence between local ethnic groups. Raja Petra Kamarudin responded by releasing an article on Malaysia Today, lashing back on Taib with allegations of hypocrisy and corruption. A second police report against Raja Petra was believed to be lodged after the release of the article, and Raja Petra was summoned to the Dang Wangi police station on 25 July 2007 for eight hours of questioning. His wife was also questioned for an hour.
After his release from questioning, Raja Petra gave his reason on why Muhammad Taib made a police report against him, stating the reason is that the government wished to silence the nations bloggers before the Malaysian general election.
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Raja Petra made headlines in end March 2008 when a Malaysian High Court ordered him in and the group chief editor and editor of PKR's organ Suara Keadilan to pay a total of RM7 million to Universiti Utara Malaysia and its vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Nordin Kardi for libel.
Accusation of Najib Abdul Razak's involvement
Raja Petra was charged on 6 May 2008 with sedition for allegedly implying that the Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was involved in the sensational killing of a young Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu. Also charged for sedition was businessman Syed Akbar Ali, who had allegedly posted a seditious comment on Malaysia Today.
Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin, who did not deny that he linked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak to the slaying, pleaded innocent to the charge, and said he should have the right to hold the powerful accountable for wrongdoing. Raja Petra was taken to a detention center after he refused to post the bail of RM5,000. The court set the trial for 6 October 2008. If convicted, he faces up to 3 years in prison. "I am not posting bail. See you guys in October, I will be out for Christmas. Don't worry." His wife said she was "quite stunned" that Raja Petra refused to post bail, and said she thought he wanted to make a statement by not posting bail, which he reportedly felt he could not afford to. She launched a campaign to solicit donations of RM1 from the public for the RM5,000 bail, but called it off a few hours later after the campaign raised over RM35,000.
Several members of parliament from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition were present at Raja Petra's hearing, with one, Nurul Izzah Anwar, calling Malaysia Today "the primary source of a lot of unearthing of scandals especially corrupt practices of the leadership and the government...it has helped [open] the eyes of the nation to what is going on and what is wrong with the country. It played a huge role in the last elections." On the same day, Lim Kit Siang raised the issue of Raja Petra's sedition charges in Parliament, arguing that Najib had personally intervened to ensure the Attorney-General would charge Raja Petra with sedition, and calling it an abuse of power.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin's wife Marina Lee Abdullah stated that "He is on a hunger strike. It is a protest. The last time he did this, his liver was damaged. I don't think he is going to last that long." Raja Petra also refused visits by family members. On his release, Raja Petra claimed that he had not, in fact, been on a hunger strike but was refusing to eat and drink for fear of being poisoned, as Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Cpl. Sirul Azhar Umar (on trial for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu) are being remanded in the same prison.
In a statutory declaration on 18 June 2008, Raja Petra accused Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (the wife of Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak) of being one of three individuals who were present at the crime scene when Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered on 19 October 2006. The statutory declaration also mentioned that every information he obtained regarding the above allegations were contained in a Military Intelligence reports received by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, implying knowledge on the part of the Prime Minister.
Raja Petra later distanced himself from the statutory declaration in an interview with TV3, saying his accusations linking Najib and Rosmah to the murder was repeating information passed onto him by opposition figures, rather than information he knew to be true himself. He stated that he did not genuinely believe that Rosmah was at the murder scene. The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement alleged the interview was heavily edited and spin doctored in favour of Prime Minister Najib Razak just in time for the upcoming Sarawak state elections. Raja Petra has backed up this assertion during an interview with Malaysiakini.
Feud with Najib Tun Razak
Criminal defamation trial
On 16 July 2008 the Malaysian police have obtained a warrant of arrest against Raja Petra for criminal defamation. This is due to his statutory declaration connecting Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, saying she was present when Mongolian national Altantunya Shaariibuu’s body was blown up. On 17 July, Raja Petra was charged with three counts of criminal intimidation over his statutory declaration on the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu. He is alleged to have defamed Deputy Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor by making a libellous statement in the declaration which he affirmed on 18 June when he knew that it would tarnish her good name. He also faced similar charges against Kolonel Norhayati Hassan and her husband Acting Kolonel Abdul Aziz Buyong.
The trial of Raja Petra, who has been charged with defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and her two assistants, will begin in the Sessions Court on 26 May 2009. Raja Petra had sought an order from the High Court to refer the matter to the Federal Court on a constitutional point or to return the case to the magistrate's court for trial.
Shafee Vs RPK
Prominent Malaysian Lawyer Datuk SeriShafee Abdullah had filed suit against Raja Petra in August 2008 for RPK's posting on 6, 7 and 11 August of that year where three articles titled "Shafee Abdullah: Sodomologist Extraordinaire", "Money, Power and Sex: What Motivates Man" and "The Real Dalang Behind The Anwar Sodomy Allegation" was clear defamation against Shafee.
RPK had in reply, filed a statement of defence on 25 November 2008 denying that the three articles were false, malicious or defamatory of Shafee.
- Appellate Jurisdiction involving the detention of Raja Petra Kamarudin under the ISA (2001) at the Wayback Machine (archived 18 March 2003) at hakam.com (.doc file)
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- ‘Raja Petra interview taken out of context’ http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/04/15/raja-petra-interview-taken-out-of-context/
- TV3 chopped interview with me: RPK http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/162556
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