RPK as he is known here, was featured by UK newspaper The Guardian on Monday under the headline “Malaysian blogger continues attacks from his UK base”. Below is the full story by Ben Bland
When Raja Petra Kamarudin, one of Malaysia’s best-known bloggers, heard he was to be detained without trial for the third time last February, he decided to flee the country.
He was already facing sedition and criminal defamation charges after publishing a string of stories that linked the prime minister Najib Razak and his wife to the gruesome murder of a beautiful Mongolian translator, Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, in 2006.
While Raja Petra says he was prepared to fight those charges in court, he was not willing to face detention without trial again under the country’s draconian Internal Security Act.“Under the ISA, they bypass the court process entirely,” says the blogger, whose Malaysia Today website regularly exposes the abuses of power that blight the south-east Asian nation. “If I’d let them get me a third time, I would have been a glutton for punishment.”
By virtue of the fact that he was born in Kingston-upon-Thames before Malaysia gained independence, Raja Petra has a right of abode in the UK, so he laid low for over a year in Manchester before revealing his whereabouts in May.
Senior members of the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, which has held power since independence in 1957, have dismissed Raja Petra’s allegations as lies and called him a “traitor” who should have his citizenship revoked. The Malaysian government says it wants to bring Raja Petra to justice but it seems unlikely that the British government would agree to extradite him in such circumstances.
And, as Raja Petra notes, the UK government abolished the offences of criminal libel and sedition in January, so any extradition request would be unlikely to pass the legal test of “dual criminality” – that the offences in question must be criminal acts in both countries.
Maintaining his website, which he says gets 500,000-1,000,000 hits a day, is a full-time occupation. His latest scalp came last month when a member of the prosecution team in the ongoing sodomy trial of the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was dropped after Raja Petra alleged that she had had an affair with the key prosecution witness.
So long as he continues posting stories like this, it is unlikely that Raja Petra will return to Malaysia any time soon. In the meantime, he says, “I’m having fun watching them run round in circles trying to get me,” he says.