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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Accidental Folk Hero

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It's probably common knowledge by now what happened yesterday morning.

The runaround of changing courts in mid-charge (not quite, but it sounds cool), the eventual charge of sedition, the accused refusing bail... And hey, presto! Faster than you can scream "Gani Patail", the Government has just created a new national folk hero.

Image taken from Malaysiakini, hosting by Photobucket Raja Petra Kamaruddin. The guy that got imprisoned for asking pertinent questions. And now, the whole world wants to know how the hell can someone quoting from an affidavit can get charged with sedition. If certain people didn't start pusing the panic buttons, and sent out the rottweillers after RPK, none would have batted an eyelid. Now, everyone wants to know more about that affidavit.

In any case, RPK's refused bail, preferring to stay in custody until the October 6th trial date. Over some very pertinent questions. Ironically, several questions that apparently have one, and only one, common answer. Sedition.

As Walski's college friends would've said to the Government, Smooth move, ex-lax...
(the world's worst strategists, and more, in the full post)

Rumblings are that certain folks in UMNO can't stand RPK. Probably because he's smart, and they're several fries short of a steak combo. , reporting on the court runaround, and eventual charge, quoted RPK as saying that the developments today weren't at all unexpected.

Talking to reporters at the Jalan Duta court complex this morning, Raja Petra said that he was a victim of political persecution.

"I knew this was coming," he said.

"This is merely an excuse to arrest me, detain me or charge me. But this excuse is a stupid excuse.

"Once they charge me and the trial has been set, we shall point out not only do they have no case but it is absolutely political persecution," he added.

He said that he was aware of a call made by an Umno leader from Petaling Jaya (Utara) about three weeks ago that "they should find ways to arrest me".

(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

So, let's assume for a moment what Pete said is true - that this was some UMNO ploy to get him arrested. Let's examine this hypothesis a little bit. Walski style.

Now, UMNO is kinda fluxed up these days. That's no big secret, really. And the last thing they need is a certain Raja Petra Kamaruddin continuing, as he has been, to be a thorn in their side. The ketuanan fellers then hatch a plan, after the April 25th article.

You see, Najib's the next in line to be UMNO's head honcho. If something prevents that from happening, let's just say that today's flux in UMNO is gonna turn into a full-blown self-destruct power struggle, which worst case is going to damage the party beyond economic repair. And after 50-some years, the warranty's more than expired. To put it bluntly, they're fucked if the planned power transition doesn't happen.

So, charge RPK with sedition, and since it's a bailable "offence", allow him bail until the trial date, in hopes that he goes home and lays low for a bit. Or, so they thought.

Little did anyone expect that RPK would pull the stunt he did on Tuesday, refusing bail. He shoots... swish... he scores. Instant hero. Set, Match... checkmate.

Okay, everything about the evil plot and all that is just Walski's imagination running amuck. What's certain, however, is the kind of support RPK has from ordinary Malaysians. From Zorro's blog (formatting and emphsis by myAsylum):

Latest Update:

Updates 16:16 hrs - Account statement made by RPK's wife on the donation as at 4pm today

From CIMB bank account : RM 24,500.00
From Paypal account : $3,283.61 USD (net total, after deduction of fee charges by Paypal services)

Message from RPK's wife and family:
Only RM5,000.00 is needed to bail out RPK. The remaining balance will be given to charitable home of RPK's choice. We would like to thank you all for your tremendous supports.
(source: zorro-unmasked)

Assuming that each contributor gave RM 1, that amounts to almost 35,000 concerned Malaysians and supporters from abroad. So unprecedented was the generosity, the donation drive had to be called off. It would have been a lot more, Walski's quite sure.

RPK refused bail to prove a point. Some UMNOphiles (mostly under the quote-cloak of anonymity) have lambasted the move by RPK to raise funds, saying that it's a disgrace to tax the people, yada, yada, yada... It was never about the money, numbnuts... get it?

Refusing bail a move no one expected. Not even his family. Least of all those so-called strategists behind the scenes, pulling the strings.

Be that as it may, a new Malaysian folk hero was born yesterday. Quite unintentionally. Definitely not what the string-pullers and paper-pushers had in mind... then again, if they had half the intelligence of RPK, they really should've known better.

If there's one thing Walski can always expect of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, without fail, it is the totally unexpected.