Perception is everything in politics. For the Barisan Nasional, the public perception against the government is that the sedition charge is a form of persecution against blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin for his daring comments. He is a hero who dare to face the might of the government, even at the risk of being jailed. Fresh from the heavy electoral defeats in five states, the public opinion against the BN can be politically costly. In fact, it can ill afford such sentiments at this point. RPK has the public on his side.
It would be more appropriate, even more effective, for the aggrieved parties to file civil suits against RPK. Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to slander or libel, his detractors are saying. Sue him for defamation and libel then. It is more difficult to prove the sedition charges against him, in fact.
But the Umno political leaders have said that he has broken the law and must face consequences of his actions. For RPK, he would now have to substantiate the allegations he has made in his article when the trial begins.
The attention would also be on Karpal Singh, where a few police reports have been lodged against him for sedition too. There is strong pressure within the Umno ranks for action to be taken against him for his various statements on the Rulers, saying he has gone too far. The police have, in fact, started their investigations by taking down statements from various parties including reporters.
Again, if the Attorney-General decide to press charges against him, it will be another politically costly affair. But for Karpal, like RPK, it's for a cause.