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May 3, 2008

A case of the underdog taking on the bad guy

malaysianinsider - He refuses to be cowed by authority. He has a low estimation of the police and other institutions. He believes that the moneyed class and powerful in the country often get a free pass. He is prepared to believe the worst about the government, its agencies and its politicians.

When Commercial Crime Investigation Department police officers questioned prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin for alleged sedition yesterday, they came face to face with someone who embodies many of the qualities of the doubting middle-class Malaysian.

If Raja Petra’s postings on Malaysia Today have a following in the country, it is not only because he writes without worrying about legal concepts of defamation or sedition, or that he combines expert story-telling with a dash of facts. It is also because many people in middle Malaysia identify with him ─ they share his concerns and suspicions.

They believe that the court system favours the rich and connected. That is why the blogger strikes pay dirt whenever he comments about the shortcomings of the judiciary and implies that all is not right at the Palace of Justice.

They cheer when he takes on the police and challenges them to arrest him, seeing him as the underdog waging battle against an institution which has been soiled with allegations of corruption and incompetence in recent years. They embrace him when he lashes out against racism and polarisation.

Warts and all, contradictions and all, he is like many urban Malaysians. The police are caught between a rock and a hard place by hauling up Raja Petra for questioning over his posting on the alleged links between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife and Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian model who was murdered in 2006.


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