Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Solidarity with Raja Petra

One of the sites linked to by this page, on which some of my posts have been reposted, is Malaysia Today, run by Raja Petra Kamarudin. Raja Petra is an extremely well connected member of the Selangor Royal Family, and is of 1/2 Malay 1/2 European ancestry (like my own children, btw). He has been prominent in writing well-researched and documented articles which are deeply embarrassing for the Malaysian government (run by UMNO, a secular Malay political party). His articles have severely damaged the supposedly 'clean' PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, revealing his family and those connected to it, alleging they are stripping millions if not billions of the Malaysian people. One of Raja Petra's revelations was that of February this year, when he revealed the relationship between Jeanne Abdullah and the PM, something the mainstream media did not reveal until June, days before the wedding.

In the last week Muhammad Muhammad Taib, a shifty character who got off a serious charge in Australia of importing large amounts of cash on a technicality, lodged a police report against Raja Petra, accusing him of running a site which insults the Agong (the Malaysian ruler) and Islam. Muhammad is UMNO's propaganda man. Raja Petra went to the police and made a statement refuting these allegations, explaining the Agong is a personal friend and asking them to show where he had insulted Islam when he is actually a practicing Muslim. Apparently, they were unable to do so, but pointed to comments posted on his blog, comments which Raja Petra alleges may have originated with UMNO 'plants' but which are certainly not presented as the views of Raja Petra himself. Over the weekend, the Malaysian newspapers carried the stories of several prominent Malaysian politicians, including the PM himself, repeating the allegations that Malaysia Today has insulted the Agong and Islam. This is clever politics, they know that the majority of Malaysians don't access the internet and will have no way of reading Raja Petra's real views, and will simply remember that he slandered the Agong and Islam, two of the most sensitive issues to Malays. The fact that they can't arrest him for these allegations is irrelevant, the mud will stick and then they will arrest him under the draconian Internal Security Act, which allows detention without trial for those accused of sedition.

I am a regular reader of Raja Petra's blog and I know that his real 'crime' is to expose the schemes of the ruling capitalist elites, in a way that normal journalists would do in countries which have a free press. This is blatantly obvious to anyone who reads his blog. As bloggers we love our countries but don't respect borders when it comes to justice. There is no such thing as Asian values versus Western values when it comes to freedom of speech - Western regimes have been just as despotic in the past and in some areas - like the Dr Haneef case in Australia - continue to be tyrants today. Raja Petra is a hero and a protector of the dignity of the Agong, the Malays and Islam, all of which have been held up to ridicule by the actions of UMNO and like governments throughout the Muslim world. As a Muslim I would rather have Raja Petra stand up for my faith rather than a miscreant like Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

I fully expect Raja Petra to be jailed under ISA, as I think he does too. Most Malaysians will not have access to the truth due to the lack of access to the internet and the fear of accessing controversial political sites such as Malaysia Today. The ruling party are now throwing mud they can't back up with facts, because they want to discredit him before they take action. It will be up to the bloggers of the world to remember and support this Malaysian Hero, the 'progressive prince' as he has been referred to, as he fights for peace and justice in Malaysia.