A case of the underdog taking on the bad guy

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 ─ He refuses to be cowed by authority. He has a low estimation of the police and other institutions. He believes that the moneyed class and powerful in the country often get a free pass. He is prepared to believe the worst about the government, its agencies and its politicians.

When Commercial Crime Investigation Department police officers questioned prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin for alleged sedition yesterday, they came face to face with someone who embodies many of the qualities of the doubting middle-class Malaysian.

If Raja Petra’s postings on Malaysia Today have a following in the country, it is not only because he writes without worrying about legal concepts of defamation or sedition, or that he combines expert story-telling with a dash of facts. It is also because many people in middle Malaysia identify with him ─ they share his concerns and suspicions.

Warts and all, contradictions and all, he is like many urban Malaysians. The police are caught between a rock and a hard place by hauling up Raja Petra for questioning over his posting on the alleged links between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife and Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian model who was murdered in 2006.

If they use the sledgehammer approach against him, it will appear that the whole force of the law is being used to silence one individual. If they do not do anything other than attempt to scare him into submission, they will lose further credibility. It could also embolden others to thumb their nose at the law or other institutions.

In any case, he is unfazed by the police attention. “The bottom line is, either they get off my back or they throw me in jail and throw away the key. I could not be bothered one bit what it is going to be. I am prepared for the worst. My objective is plain and simple. Altantuya’s murderers are going to be sent to hell. And I don’t mind going to hell myself to see this happen,” he declared on his website.

If there is to be judicial reform, it has to meet the standards of Malaysians and not what is permitted by politicians wary of an independent judiciary. If the Anti-Corruption Agency is to win over doubting Malaysians, it must have the will to go after everyone, prince and pauper. If ministers are to regain the admiration of the electorate, they must come across as sensible and clean.

If the government wants to have the respect of its citizens, it will have to earn it. The reservoir of goodwill which it built up over the decades since independence in 1957 is nearly empty, replaced by cynicism and distrust. Until then, Raja Petra and others will have the final and commanding word in any skirmish with the authorities.

Full article here.

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This article, I think, sums up pretty much what the general sentiment is on the ground. No more are the people cowering before the powers-that-be, just because they are exactly that, the powers-that-be. Malaysians have now learnt at least one nilai Moral that they teach students in school, Berani kerana benar. Maybe Berani dengan tidak membuta tuli is still not learnt by heart yet, but hey, you win some, you lose some. Besides, in the context today, everyone seems to be in a rush to membuta tuli.

Anyway, with Parliament now officially running, they should probably pay more attention to articles like these, though commentaries they may be, they speak for the rakyat more than the MPs themselves. Then maybe they’ll start making good decisions about which laws to keep, which laws to change, and which laws to do away completely.

No point making laws that protect a certain class of people. The rakyat, the people who are now berani kerana benar will just break them anyway.



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