Most Read
Most Commented
Read more like this
Your Say: You can imprison a man but not his ideas
Published:  Sep 24, 2008 10:38 AM
Updated: 9:25 AM

On Raja Petra sent to Kamunting

Winnie: Life in Malaysia has been a like a roller coaster ride these past few weeks. First we rejoiced over Anwar Ibrahim’s triumphant return to Parliament. Surely the government has learnt its lesson from March 8 if it can allow its arch enemy a seat in the August House, we thought. Maybe the sodomy allegations were foolish attempts at derailing a good man’s return to his rightful place in the political landscape?

Before we could heave a sigh of relief, came news of Anwar’s so-called failed takeover of government on Sept 16. Maybe he was just bluffing after all, we thought in dismay. The government jumped in enthusiastically, playing on our insecurities and poking fun at Pakatan Rakyat’s failed ‘coup’.

Then came news of the three ISA arrests. Much has been said about Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng’s arrests, so I will refrain from commenting further. After all, they have been released. But what about Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK)? The man who started the revolution in Malaysian politics in the first place?

Are we going to sit back and watch this upstanding citizen spend two years in detention, while rapists, murderers, racial bigots, thieves, Mat Rempit and the like are free to roam the streets? I don’t think the rakyat will keep silent very much longer over such a travesty of justice.

The only question we must ask ourselves is, why is the government so afraid of RPK? His writings have often been dismissed as rubbish, so why the need to imprison him? Why not just ignore him, maybe then he will shut up? The fact that this man has shaken the government to its very core speaks volumes of his power. The plain fact is that the government is afraid of RPK.

The government must remember that it can imprison a man but not his ideas. These remain free. And sincere, powerful words can bring down a government. Mark RPK’s words, the BN government is toast.

AN: A lot has been said about the injustices of the ISA. Syed Hamid Albar’s latest desperate act of sending RPK to Kamunting to avoid the habeas corpus hearing is a clear sign that RPK’s detention under the ISA has no basis and will not stand up in a court of law.

Yesterday was a sad day for RPK and his family, as well as all the other ISA detainees and their families. It was also a sad day for Umno. It looks like they have mastered the art of infuriating the rakyat and scoring their own goals. We, the rakyat should not forget, or forgive such abuses of power.

Vivien: So this is what Malaysia has come to. The government lets murderers get away with murder, but throws into jail people whose only ‘sin’ is to speak the truth. Little Nurin Jazlin’s killer, many murderers, rapists, robbers and snatch thieves walk free, but RPK has been condemned to Kamunting without so much as a by-your-leave. What a very sad time this is! I was a member of the silent majority but I shall remain silent no more.

RPK’s blogging has not caused public unrest, nor did Malaysians rise up against each other because of what he wrote. His postings have actually helped non-Muslims like me gain a better opinion of Islam, and made us realise that Islam does stand for justice and truth. His incarceration is not going to make us forget what he wrote, in fact it helps to confirm our worst fears about BN and Umno.

Release RPK now, Umno. Stop bullying the innocent to benefit yourself and get down to running the country.

All Malaysians regardless of race and religion must stand up for what is right. Keeping silent in the face of such gross injustice will merely ensure that we get what we deserve, an unbenevolent and despotic government.

Yeong Khong: It's indeed a despicable act to detain RPK under the ISA which, in the process, undercuts any moral ground for Malaysia to criticise any other country for any ill or unjust treatment of its citizens.

Perhaps it's time for us RPK supporters to contact his wife Marina Lee Abdullah to see whether she will agree to the setting up of a RPK legal defence fund so that all of us who love and support RPK's fight against injustice, corruption and repression, can contribute our little bit to ease his family's financial burden while he is under detention.

I sincerely hope Marina will agree to the fund which is not a reflection of the financial status of the family but more as a means for RPK's fans and supporters to contribute something more than just words of moral support.

Tetraigrat: RPK’s detention in Kamunting came as no surprise. What was puzzling was the timing of the detention order. How pathetic that it was signed before his habeas corpus hearing. It only illustrates the government’s desperate bid to stifle all dissenting voices.

I still can't understand how articles in RPK’s blog can create unrest and chaos. If his articles are indeed sensitive or made up of plain lies, charge him in a court of law. In fact, he has been charged under the Sedition Act and is awaiting trial. Why the need to incarcerate him in Kamunting?

This is really an act of mala fide on the part of the government to suppress and oppress the freedom of speech and thought in the country. The surprising thing is that the PM had promised Malaysians that he will improve policing and rule of law, and eradicate corruption. Perhaps unleashing the ISA on an innocent man is his version of better rule of law?

G-man: This is a travesty of justice and just goes to show how low the powers that 'temporarily be' can stoop, just to silence one man. Well, have we got news for them, they may silence his voice, but not the collective and not the cause.

The home minister has once again demonstrated what kind of flip-flopping acts we have in the government: unplanned, unorganised and definitely unwanted. Shame on the government.

Edmund Leong: I don’t think Pakatan Rakyat has done enough for RPK. If not for the many scandals exposed by this fearless blogger, the opposition would not have done so well in the last election.

Anwar Ibrahim should lead a large scale 'Free RPK movement' as he owes this gentleman a lot. And we Malaysians should also stand firmly behind this great man. If not for his courage and determination, we would not be aware of all the goings on behind the doors of power. For the mental and physical tortures that RPK is suffering, let our gratitude be his best painkiller.

Bangsa Malaysia: What kind of justice system do we want? Do we want to continue with a feudal system of patronage, with rewards thrown like crumbs to an un-thinking, illiterate society while the warlords rule or do we want a modern, democratic rule of law?

It is so strange that the ISA was first created to fight armed terrorists. Back in 2000, when some terrorist commandos tried to take over an army camp, the government did not arrest them under the ISA. If I remember correctly, they were arrested and charged with treason and jailed.

Those men were carrying weapons of mass destruction and yet they escaped the ISA. However this archaic law has been used on Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and RPK who are hardly considered dangerous. Where is justice? Where is the rule of law?

Alfred Ho: Yesterday was certainly a dark day for all right thinking Malaysians. As RPK has been instrumental in helping Pakatan Rakyat wrest control of five states during the last general election, I feel strongly that Pakatan should now return the favour by forming a pressure group to seek his freedom.

I also think that all the people who regularly read Malaysia Today should stand out to be counted at this critical time. They must stop hiding behind fictitious names and do something for RPK for a change. Perhaps they can form a group to pressure the government into releasing him.

RPK’s detention under the ISA is certainly a desperate act by the government to prevent its secrets from being revealed in court. Why is the government so afraid of RPK? Maybe this courageous man does indeed have proof of all the outrageous claims he makes in his blog?

The government must be held fully responsible for this very cruel act. I hope Pakatan comes to power soon and puts right all the wrongs of this government, starting with the draconian ISA.

Finally, my prayers go out to RPK and his family during this very trying time and let us all right thinking Malaysians do what we can to pressure the government into releasing RPK unconditionally.

John R Malott (former US ambassador to Malaysia): The decision by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to send RPK to the Kamunting detention centre for two years under the ISA is an outrage.

When Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak comes to Washington at the end of this month, he should expect that this issue will be raised not only by US government officials but also by those he will meet, includng myself, during his planned speech at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.

Sam: The ISA has tragically survived our colonial past and is now being used by the government to imprison its so-called enemies. In other countries, such draconian laws are used exclusively to counter terrorist activities.

Western democracies do not use detention without trial for people who are political dissenters or opponents who express their opinions through their writings. How can anyone claim that RPK is someone who should be lumped in the same catagory as terrorists and dangerous criminals?

The government might consider him rude, insulting, unfair and insensitive but since when do such characteristics justify being locked up without trial? Of course, to most of us he is none of these things but is a courageous champion of truth and freedom for all Malaysians.

T Rozario: So our home minister has decided that RPK should be detained for two years without trial for an offence they allege he committed but for which he has not been tried.

We all know what RPK has been writing about all this while. Anyone who has been personally attacked in his writing and allegations should have dragged him to court to clear their name.

Any decent gentleman whose wife has been subjected to allegations of being a conspirator in a murder should have dragged RPK to court and sued him for everything including the shirt on his back.

Alas we do not have such knights in shining armour anymore. It seems that some people in high places would rather ignore the insults leveled at their wives and use other means to get at RPK.

Please join the Malaysiakini WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news and views that matter.