Monday, 2 January 2012

Politician, hero or zero? RPK hits back at critics!


Anwar no more Raja Petra’s hero

Analysis By BARADAN KUPPUSAMY

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, in an interview with the media, gives his take on Pakatan Rakyat and its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a man he once admired and supported wholeheartedly.

BLOGGER-in-exile Raja Petra Kamaruddin has emerged to give an interview to several media representatives, during which he spoke on a wide range of topics covering the future of Pakatan Rakyat, its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the prospects of the coalition in the next general election.

The interview appeared yesterday in The New Sunday Times, Berita Minggu, Mingguan Malaysia and online news website Malaysia Today.



His emergence at this crucial juncture is a boon to Barisan Nasional as it prepares for the hustings.

In a nutshell, what he spoke about can be summarised in his own words: “I can support the Opposition, without supporting Anwar.

“It is not a sin or crime if I don't support Anwar,” says the political pundit who is more popularly referred to as RPK.

That statement summed up his current position vis-a-vis politics and the big battle for power ahead.

He has lost confidence in Anwar as Pakatan leader.

He believes Pakatan cannot capture Putrajaya and he says the Opposition must look beyond to a time when it can exist and keep going without Anwar.

The key to politics today is to create a two-party system, to lay the foundation for it and not to capture power now.

On a personal note, he believes the Sodomy II trial was fair compared with the first sodomy trial in the late 90s and that Anwar is a victim of a honey trap in the latest tribulations.

Raja Petra is certainly no ordinary blogger.

He was the first man in the country to combine digital technology with a flair for writing and place it at the disposal of the man he admired and supported wholeheartedly Anwar.

He kept the Anwarites' flame alive through the dark years of Anwar's sacking by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the reformasi struggle and Anwar's imprisonment, with his Free Anwar website.



After Anwar's 2004 release, Raja Petra set up the Malaysia Today website which, with his talent for story-telling, turned into the foremost political news blog.

He “escaped” from the country and ended up as an exile in Britain following several warrants for his arrest.

In addition, several people have also obtained bankruptcy petitions against him.

In Britain, he set up the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) with lawyer Haris Ibrahim and they proffered several independent candidates, i.e. lawyer Malik Imtiaz but their scheme did not take off because of criticisms from Pakatan leaders and supporters.

The Opposition saw the third force, as MCLM wanted to be, as a trojan horse of Barisan.

His Malaysia Today website is not as widely read as it was before but Raja Petra, as an activist and commentator on political development, remains influential as this wide-ranging interview suggests.

His take on Anwar remains his most important contribution to contemporary politics, as he was such an ardent supporter previously.

He says if Pakatan does not capture Putrajaya, and he gives reasons why it can't do it, Anwar would slide into irrelevance and eventually into oblivion.

The struggle has always been to bring change and not to free Anwar as in Nelson Mandela's case, to fight and bring down apartheid and not to seek his release.

While Raja Petra is by no means a supporter of Barisan, he reserves his harshest criticism to Anwar's failure to lead Pakatan.

He faults Anwar's leadership shortcomings.

He says Anwar is a great speaker at ceramah but he is not an administrator and points to the many times Anwar has gone overseas since he was appointed economic adviser to the Selangor government three years ago.

“Shouldn't you be staying home, running the state? Running the party? Running the coalition?” he said.

He also urges Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to take the “bull by the horns” in introducing reforms and not just scratch the surface or indulge in cosmetic changes.

“Najib must be prepared not only to take a knife but a chainsaw and cut whatever he needs to cut.”

Being who he is, supporters of Pakatan would be unhappy with Raja Petra's criticisms of the coalition.

The three parties of the coalition seem to be fighting each other for the spoils of victory in the next general election, he says.

It is a coup for the Government to get no less than Raja Petra himself to line up against Pakatan and its leader Anwar.

His influence on Pakatan supporters was seen in the 2008 general election.

He was out campaigning, asking voters to vote for change.

This time, he is asking voters to not to vote blindly for any “donkey or monkey” but to pick candidates, from either side who would truly serve the rakyat.

In justifying his criticism of Pakatan, he says he is not supporting Barisan and he is not saying Barisan is the best government.

RPK hits back at critics

PETALING JAYA: Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin has hit back at critics who accused him of selling out to Barisan Nasional.

In his latest post on his website, he said he had expected the barrage of criticisms after he slammed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in an interview to selected mainstream media and an online portal.

Raja Petra spoke on a variety of issues including Anwar's possible irrelevance, his sodomy trial and the Selangor government.

Raja Petra dismissed criticisms by commentators in various online portals, saying that what they said did not matter to him.

“The more important issue is: Which category are you in? Are you amongst the less than four million Malaysians who voted the Opposition in the last general election? Or are you amongst the more than 11 million eligible voters who did not vote Opposition, did not vote at all, or did not even register to vote?

“Yes, I value your comments, but only if you fall in the first category. If not, then your comments are of no significance,” he added.

Raja Petra stunned many when he questioned whether Anwar was the best candidate to lead the country, saying he “wasn't impressed” with the latter's performance in Selangor.

Meanwhile, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution accused Raja Petra of being a “hired Umno blogger” and part of a larger plot to smear Anwar's name ahead of the latter's sodomy trial verdict on Jan 9.

He told an online news portal that Umno and Barisan were determined to see Anwar jailed, adding that the attacks against Anwar were meant to deflect attention from the Government's alleged financial scandals.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's political secretary Faekah Husin said the state was willing to pay Raja Petra's transportation costs from overseas to return to Malaysia and shed light on his bribery claims.

She claimed many were of the view that Raja Petra was desperate to return home, hence the attacks on Anwar.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran said Raja Petra's comments were “unfair, untrue, unsupported by any believable evidence and plainly libellous”.

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