Malaysia: Blogger RPK to be freed

The High Court of Shah Alam, capital of Selangor in Malaysia, ruled that the detention of popular blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin  (RPK), under the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) was illegal. Judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad stated that the detention was unconstitutional, and that the home minister had not followed proper procedure under Section 8 of the ISA to issue the detention order against RPK. He therefore issued an order for RPK be produced in court today by 4pm, after which he should be freed.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin

Upon his release, RPK was quoted as saying

Not many people have challenged the act (ISA) so much and I did not have much high hopes (of being released). This application allowed under Section 8 is a special prize. This showed ISA cannot be used. I hope this is not a political decision. I don't want to be the prime minister. I want Anwar [Ibrahim] to be the PM.

On Sept 12 this year, police had detained RPK under the ISA based on a detention order, signed by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar. According to Syed Hamid, RPK's detention was due to articles written by RPK and published on his popular portal, ‘Malaysia Today‘. These articles allegedly ridiculed Islam, and there was concern by the Home Ministry that Muslim Malaysians might be angered. It has been reported that because of RPK's release, many social activists and opposition politicians are now calling for the Home Minister's resignation.

This is the second time RPK has been arrested under the ISA. In 2001, he was detained without trial during the reformasi movement triggered by the sacking and jailing of former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, who is now opposition leader. RPK was released by the police after 53 days without being sent to Kamunting detention centre.

Home Minister, Syed Hamid, was reported to have said that RPK's release will be appealed.

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