Monday, May 5, 2008

Who Is This Towering Malaysian RPK - Background

This is a Malay name; the name "Raja Kamarudin" is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by his or her given name, "Raja Petra".

Raja Petra Kamarudin has been investigated by the police for comments posted on his website, Malaysia Today. In the background is Raja Petra's wife, Marina Lee Abdullah.Raja Petra bin Raja Kamarudin (born September 27, 1950) is a Malaysian editor known for running the Malaysia Today website and publishing a series of commentary articles on Malaysian politics in the website. He is also fondly referred to as Peter or by the initials RPK among fellow bloggers in his website.

Personal life

Born in 1950, Raja Petra was educated at the Alice Smith School. At the age of 13 he went to further his studies at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, completing his education at the Victoria Institution. Raja Petra Kamarudin used to own a motorcycle dealership and rice distributor. He has been fascinated with motorcycles since he was young.

On April 14, 1973, at the age of 23 years old, he married Marina Lee binti Abdullah who was then 18 years old.Marina Lee Abdullah, of Siamese-Chinese extraction,is a book publisher.Raja Petra and Marina have five children (Suraya, Raja Azman, Raja Shahril, Raja Azmir and Raja Sara) and two grandchildren.

Raja Petra is a member of the Selangor royal family. He is the nephew of the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia and the seventh Sultan of Selangor. His mother is Welsh.

Political involvement

Raja Petra was a leading member of Parti Keadilan Nasional (now Parti Keadilan Rakyat)—the party set up in response to the arrest of former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. On April 11, 2001, Raja Petra and 10 other opposition activists were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly plotting to overthrow then prime minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. He was released from the detention center 52 days later.

Raja Petra started the Malaysia Today website and his blog to facilitate open discussion on Malaysia's political and social scenes. In his online writings, he is often very witty, humorous and sometimes critical of the current political developments in Malaysia. In his Malaysia Today's columns, he advocates for transparency, accountability and justice in the Malaysian political system. He often denounces money politics, corruption, and ethnic polarisation that is deeply rooted in Malaysian society.

On July 23, 2007, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, UMNO's Information Chief, lodged a police report against Malaysia Today at 12.57 p.m. at the Tun H.S. Lee police station, under Section 121 (B) and Section 123 of the Penal Code, Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 263 and Section 266 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, for a July 11 blog entry on the website deemed to contain writing that insult the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, degrade Islam and incite hatred and violence between local ethic groups.Raja Petra Kamarudin responded by releasing an article on Malaysia Today, lashing back on Taib with allegations of hypocrisy and corruption. A second police report against Raja Petra was believed to be lodged after the release of the article, and Raja Petra was summoned to the Dang Wangi police station on July 25, 2007 for eight hours of questioning. His wife was also questioned for an hour.

After his release from questioning, Raja Petra gave his reason on why Muhammad Taib made a police report against him, stating the reason is that the government wished to silence the nations bloggers before the Malaysian general election.

Raja Petra made headlines in end March 2008 when a Malaysian High Court ordered him in and the group chief editor and editor of PKR’s organ Suara Keadilan to pay a total of RM7 million to Universiti Utara Malaysia and its vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Nordin Kardi for libel.