Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin's supporters hold a banner at the Jalan Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday asking for his release from the Internal Security Act.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin will be under detention for two years under the Internal Security Act now. He was previously detained for 52 days under the ISA in 2001 for allegedly plotting to overthrow then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which was a load of bull really. We are not sure what is he serving time for this round but he is already facing various suits and criminal intimidation charges. He has ruffled plenty of feathers, offended many powerful people, won many hearts with his brave writings but also hurt many innocent people in the process with his allegations, which seem imaginary at times. But this blogger has always maintained that he should be charged in open court, not under the ISA. By detaining him under the ISA, the government has made a matryr out of him. It would make the government look bad which it can ill afford. It would strengthen the perception that the ISA is used against political opponents and its critics. Many would now argue that RPK is not a threat to national security but a threat to the powers of the government. The next best thing the government can do now would be to present a paper detailing the offences committed by RPK, particularly parts of his writings which it deemed have no basis or could threaten race or religious relations. That would be seen, at least, as a form of a rebuttal. But it should also seriously study the many well-intended calls to abolish the ISA. Not just a review but a repeal of the Act, which some Cabinet ministers have gone through. Surely, these men who now hold high positions would not be there now if they had done terrible things to the country, which even the ISA had to be used against them, previously. Ask Dr Maximus Ongkili and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, for example.