Exclusive Interview With Raja Petra: I Have More Inside Stories To Tell - Lee Chooi Mei.
Malaysia’s most famous or infamous blogger, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, is in his usual unrepentant and rebellious self when interviewed by Guang Ming.
I believe in what I believe. Send me to jail I’m not afraid,” he said about his latest brush with the law.
In his most sensational disclosure to date, Raja Petra posted on his blog a bombshell entitled Let's Send The Altantuya Murderers To Hell. This was the closest anyone dared to link deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and hi swife, Rosmah Mansor to the murder fo the Mongolian beauty in mysterious circumstances. Thus immediately brought tremendous pressure on Najib. RPK, as he is more fondly known, was quickly arrested and detained for three days and charged under the Sedition Act on 5 May.
But he hit back: “It's worth it. Send me into jail! I'm not afraid of it.”
He says he’s not interested in money and does not work for money’s sake. All he pursues in his lifetime is “freedom and democracy”, and he does what he considers “the right things to do”.
“My life is simple. I don't need much money. I'm not fighting for personal gains. What I believe in is my belief,” he said.
He says Malaysians are forgetful and are also afraid of changes. Raja Petra said: “Malaysians are always afraid of this and that. Why should we be scared by our own shadows?” He believes in fate and trusting everything to God, thus it would not be necessary to worry too much.
Raja Petra, 58, has no need to worry about money since he was a child. He is both liberal and bohemian at the same time. He advocated anti-war sentiments and the fight for democracy in his teenage years. The Vietnam War in 1960s and 1970s was the start of his struggle.
The hippie culture arose during the Vietnam War period. The then teenager Raja Petra liked to travel around on his motor bike. He took to the Flower Power to carry out social reform with love and peace.
Different people impacted him at different stages of his life, including Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, member of the famous band Beatles, John Lennon and Iran's highest leader Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah.
Raja Petra had participated in Iran's reform movements and anti-Arab movements to fight for reform of Islamic culture. But he is not a Muslim extremist. He has his own principles, hoping to see modern Islamic beliefs emerging someday.
On his relationship with PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and his writing articles inclined to the Opposition, he said: “I'm not helping him, I just do what I should do.”
To Fight Injustice........
Malaysia Today Editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin told Guang Ming Daily that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim nearly died in the lock-up when he was arrested in 1998. It aroused his indignation and therefore, he decided to return to the political arena and carried out the Free Anwar campaign.
“Politics is politics, perhaps Anwar should be punished. But not under the allegations of sodomy. He shouldn't be assaulted or worse, almost killed,” said Raja Petra.
He said that according to the medical report he had seen, Anwar suffered a near fatal injury.
“The only reason that Anwar has not been killed was because former Federal Commercial Crimes Investigation Director Datuk Ramli Yusoff managed to stop former Inspector-General of Police Abdul Rahim Noor,” he said. He helped to form PKR in 1999 but chose to launch the Free Anwar campaign outside the party. He wanted the whole world to know about it.
“It was not only about Anwar, but as well what happened in our country's political arena. Anwar was an issue but it was not the only issue,” he said.
On 11 Apr 2001, Raja Petra, together with other 10 opposition party members were detained for 52 days under the Internal Security Act. On 13 Aug 2004, he set up a website called Malaysia Today. Two weeks later, Anwar was released from jail.
He stressed that he is a full-time website editor. He did not chose the political arena as his stage as he wanted to criticise injustice with impartially.
He said: “Regardless it is the ruling party or the Opposition, once you do something wrong, I'll criticise you.
“When you are the ruling party, you will point your fingers at the Opposition and when you are the Opposition, you will point your fingers at the ruling party. There is no direction. This is politics. But I can criticise anyone as an outsider,” he said.
Raja Petra firmly believed that everyone has the right to speak. Thus, his website Malaysia Today served as a channel for everyone to express their views and opinions.
Anwar Should Not Challenge Tun Ghafar Baba.........
When talking about his former comrade-in-arms PKR Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia Today Editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin said it was about “personal loyalty”. But both of them persisted in their own principles.
Raja Petra met Anwar at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. Anwar was his senior as he was three years older than him. Later, both of them joined Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM).
He said that he and Anwar have been friends with a same goal but different routes.
He followed Anwar to join ABIM when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister. They took part in Islamic culture reform movements.
Later, Anwar joined Umno. He did not agree and did not follow.
Two or three years later, Anwar wanted to contest for the Umno Youth Chief position and his competitor was Suhaimi Kamaruddin. Anwar asked for help from his old friends. As Anwar was his friend, senior and former ABIM member, he agreed to help.
However, he stressed that: “I supported Anwar but not Umno.”
Raja Petra was responsible for electioneering included dinner arrangements and network connections during the contest period. Eventually, Anwar won.
Raja Petra continued to help Awar as an outsider to keep the Umno Youth Chief position for three times in a row. Then he said: “That's enough!”
Anwar's power Umno was increasingly consolidated after he became the Umno Youth Chief. He was ambitious and wanted to challenge Tun Ghafar Baba for the position of Deputy Umno President.
Raja Petra and his friend did not agree with Anwar as they thought they should wait for Ghafar's retirement.
“We all knew that Ghafar would not be the Prime Minister. He was older that Dr Mahathir and his education background was until standard six. Malays paid great respect to him as he was one of the fighters for the independence of Malaya.
“Malays have deep respect for him. You couldn't just overthrow him like this. Anwar should give Ghafar more time to resign himself. Therefore, I didn't agree with the young Anwar who challenged Ghafar. I think he paid no respect to the elder.”
Thus, it was the time when Raja Petra and Anwar parted ways. He and his friends no longer helped Anwar in electioneering.
However, Anwar was strongly supported by Sabah Umno. There was a bonus system in which a candidate would automatically receive 10 bonus votes with every single district nomination. The situation was very unfavourable to Ghafar and he stepped down.
Mahathir Destroys Anwar.........
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has changed after he became the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, Umno changed him, said Malaysia Today Editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.
Raja Petra said Anwar has changed to another person after he gained a success in the political arena, he has become another “Umno man”.
“He (Anwar) wore a RM3000 suit, unlike the time when we wore traditional Malay costumes. He said he wanted to change Umno before he joined the party but in fact, he was changed by Umno,” he said.
At that time, Raja Petra did not involve in any Umno affair but took another route to serve Pas.
He wrote for Pas's Harakkah (English version) in Teregganu and criticized Anwar. Anwar was really angry at that time. Until Anwar was sacked in 1998, he told Anwar that: “You deserve it! You can challenge Ghafar Baba, but not Mahathir.”
He said Anwar thought after he has easily overthrew Tun Ghafar Baba, he could as well easily depose Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Eventually, he failed and Dr Mahathir did him in.
“I Believe Anwar Is Innocent”
“I firmly believe that Anwar is innocent,” said Malaysia Today Editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.
Why he believed that Anwar was innocent and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is related to the Mongolian murder case?
Raja Petra said without hesitation: “Who personally saw Anwar sodomise others? And Najib should clear his name in court to prove his innocence with evidence.”
Raja Petra also claimed that he still has information regarding the Mongolian murder case and he will reveal more. As he was being asked from where he got the information, he did not deny that he had internal sources from the royal family and Umno senior members.
When he was being asked why he believed Anwar was innocent, he asked a question: “Do you know the truth? If you think he is guilty, then show me the evidence and prove it. ”
He refused to comment on Anwar's 16 Sept regime change plan. He said: “Anything could happen in politics.”
To him, any information about Anwar's plan was confidential.
“I have my sources and I believe in the information that I got from them. But this is not the time to show the public,” he added.
Abdullah Is A Political Master........
To Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was a political master. He could compete with political fighter Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
After Umno's internal struggle between Team A and Team B, the party was found unlawful. Mahathir formed the new Umno and excluded members from Team B, included the party's elder statesmen Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn.
Raja Petra as well revealed an inside story that the then party elder statesmen registered the party with the name “Malaysia Umno” and Dr Mahathir registered as “Umno Baru” three days after he got to know about it. Later, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's camp was informed that the name was not approved as someone else were using the same name.
“Razaleigh had no choice but to form Semangat 46. However, Abdullah who was in Team B did not follow. Eventually, Abdullah returned to Umno,” he added.
Raja Petra said if Abdullah joined 46 Semangat at that time, he would not have today's achievements.
Najib Changes The Ending For Team A And Team B.....
In 1987, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wanted to contest for the Umno Deputy President position. The then Umno had been split into Team A and Team B – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's camp and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's camp. Anwar was the Umno Youth Chief and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was his deputy.
Raja Petra said that both Dr Mahathir and Anwar understood that if Najib went to Razaleigh, then Team B would have higher chances to win.
He said that most of the Chinese did not identify with Tun Abdul Razak, but he was greatly supported by Malays. Thus, his son Najib managed to gain support as well.
“Najib wished to be the Umno Youth Chief. He could make it as long as Anwar stayed out of the way. Thus, Anwar said Najib could be the Umno Youth Chief with a condition that he supported Dr Mahathir,” he said.
Raja Petra believed that Najib was not a fighter. He would not aggressively fight for opportunities. However, he would take it if he was given a change.
“It is true even until today.
“Threfore, Najib expressed his support for Dr Mahathir at the very last minute. Otherwise, Razaleigh might have become the Prime Minister. And the Malaysia's history would be different,” he added.
During the most intense period of the dispute between Team A and Team B, Raja Petra and Anwar discussed about the situation at a gathering.
He revealed that: “At that time, we heard that Razaleigh's chances to win was high. We analysed it and I told Anwar that votes from Umno Youth members were very important. That's why Team B led by Razaleigh was trying their best to draw him to their side. We asked about Anwar's opinion and which side he would take.
“Anwar rejected Team B. He said he had promised to support Dr Mahathir. He even said that he would resign if Razaleigh won.”
Dr Mahathir said he would not resign even if he won only by one vote.
Eventually, Dr Mahathir won with a majority of 40 votes.
Malaysia's Future Is Still A Dream........
Malaysian politics is still full of racial and religious features and the true equality for all racial groups is still a dream, said Malaysia Today Editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.
When could we achieve a society without the distinction of races and religions?
Raja Petra pessimistically said that even in the era of our grandchildren, Malaysia's politics may not be able to completely get rid of racial politics.
Raja Petra said Malaysia has went through 50 years. He could not predict how it would go for the next 50 years. But he stressed that as long as no changes done to the education system, the situation would be the same or even worse.
“Racial harmony requires a very long time to be achieved but it can be destroy within a second. The 13 May incident is an example,” he said.
He bluntly said that the goal of no racial politics could not be achieved with the presence of Umno, MCA and MIC.
“In fact, not only Umno or Malays can't run away from racial politics, but MCA and MIC as well,” he added.
He pointed out that during the general elections, Malays voted for Chinese and Indians voted for Malays. But after the elections, the major parties distributed official positions according to the quota system instead ability.
source:Guang Ming Daily & MySinchew
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