Stirring up a hornet's nest. Unlike Raja Petra Kamaruddin's previous "victims", Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer accused by the Malaysia Today editor as the "devil" behind a purported conspiracy against Anwar Ibrahim, is not taking RPK's allegations lying down.
During a press conference at his office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Shafee dared RPK to face him, in court, like a man. In a single press release, he called RPK, among other things:Shafee also described Malaysia Today, the website RPK runs, as a political "propaganda website" and that Raja Petra is its "chief puppet"."a coward"
"a common 'pariah'"
"one who hides behind the skirt of his wife"
"a common bankrupt"
"bankrupt of ideas and credibility"
"dishonest and reckless""Raja Petra is not a bona fide journalist or an independent news provider."Read Shafee's press release in full (thanks, Big Dog) here.
"Raja Petra does not practice an open blog site. He only publishes materials that support him. All other materials that are critical of him or condemn him are not published. He is not interested in an open debate for alternative views. His claim that his website is a source of independent news is total nonsense. Clearly this blogger is a coward and one that hides behind his blog ( and as you can see in court last Friday, one that hides behind his wife as well). Any so called “Royalty” (as Raja Petra claims himself to be) who indulges in publishing vulgar statements over and above being defamatory ought to be ashamed of himself as his behaviour evidenced in the blog site is that of a common “pariah”."
Has RPK abused blog freedom and basic decency with his articles on Shafee? Some people frown at the way RPK writes but that he has a large following proves that people love the stuff he has been dishing out. Raja Petra's strength lies in developing a readable story based on a bit of facts and a lot of opinions (and he's willing to go down defending what he writes). But that is also what has gotten him into trouble repeatedly with the law. His followers believe that RPK has the evidence to back what he writes but so far Raja Petra has yet to come out with the evidence.
Shafee is a prominent lawyer and member of the society. Even if he wasn't, Shafie is entitled to defend his honor. The intensity of his response to RPK's attacks is frightening. He isn't going after just RPK, he is setting a precedence by going after the commenters in Malaysia Today who have defamed him as well.
He said he was lodging a police report against RPK and the commenters for: (a) Criminal Defamation; (b) Sedition under the Sedition Act 1948; (c) Offences under the Penal Code for vulgarities; (d) Offences under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998; and (e) Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984.
I have been sued myself by the NSTP and 4 of its officials who claimed that I have defamed them on my blog. Nearly 20 months have passed by and my case is on-going. My lawyers told me that the TRUTH is the best defence against defamation suit. I can run to the court of public opinion to win my fight, but in the end it is still in the court of law that I must defend myself and clear my name.
Sue me, Shafee tells RPK (NST, 18/8/2008)