Friday, November 12, 2010

raja petra mengomel psl zaid n pkr

Exclusive Interview with Raja Petra: RPK on PKR and PRK
by Al Jafree Md Yusop

This is the first of two-part interview with blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

Malaysian Digest: Congratulations on the Federal Court’s decision. How do you feel about not being a fugitive anymore and the court’s decision?

Raja Petra Kamarudin:
I don’t know why people still keep referring me as a fugitive because, as far as I’m concerned, the ISA (Internal Security Act) which they were appealing is detention trial law. So in that sense you are being charged for anything. So how can you be considered a fugitive under the ISA when there’s no charge?

Now there were two other trials. As I’ve said, on the first trial I did not wish to participate anymore because the key witness was not cooperative. And, on the second charge, I did not plead not guilty. Why did they take the plea of not guilty and put me on trial? When I was asked, I refused to enter into a plea and the court resisted and that would be interpreted as a not guilty plea. Why does the court want to do that? So, for me the second trial was not significant at all.

MD: Will we be seeing you back here anytime soon?

RPK: I don’t know… is there anything for me to do (there)? I always keep in touch with my friends (there)… it’s no problem… and I can freely write what I want to write from here.

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim quit the PKR poll for the No 2 post. Did you see this coming?

Well, I didn’t think he would last because I know his character. I’ve even spoken to him when he was still in Umno. And he was not even yet made a minister at that time. And I told him, I said, “You can’t last in Umno… the way you are so outspoken and so vocal. Umno won’t be able to tolerate all you criticisms.” I said, “If you want to continue to criticize the system then you have to do it outside the political system. Because it is the political that is corrupt. How can you remain in the system and criticize the system? Either you follow the system, be part of the system or get out of the system. You can’t be within the system and be not happy with it at the same time.

I told him not to join a political party. I suggested that he set up an NGO and head it and join the civil society movement. Soon after that he was made a minister. And after he resigned as a minister, again I spoke to him and he was no more in Umno by then and I said, “Don’t join a political party… remain outside the political system and criticize it from outside. But he decided to join PKR which we felt was the wrong move. Whether it’ PKR, PAS or DAP, Umno or whichever (party) it may be you have to tow the party line. If you don’t like it, get out.

You posted an article entitled ‘Play the Games According to the Rules, Or Else Quit the Game’ on Sunday November 7 that was directed to Zaid. The next day, Zaid announced that he is quitting the party poll and all party posts. Was Zaid heeding your advice?

I don’t know. I never spoke to him (since the last time).

You said in one of your articles that PKR is not suitable for a man like Zaid. Do you think PKR needed Zaid?

Only if PKR it is able to accept criticisms. But PKR is just like any other political party, they are very wary of their own leaders criticizing the party. They would like things settled behind closed doors. But then after what extent can you discuss behind closed doors. I think after a while, if whatever you say is not heeded then you have to make a distinction. Can you continue criticizing behind closed doors and go change? If something goes wrong, since you’re part of system, don’t you have to take part of the blame?

What do you think was behind Zaid’s statement earlier that he won’t contest for the number 2 post if Nurul Izzah is contesting? Do you feel there’s a rift between Nurul Izzah and her father?

I don’t know… Ask her. I can’t speak on behalf of Zaid or even Nurul. First of all, I’m not the official spokesman and I have not discussed this with them. So I don’t know what’s in their minds.

Are you disappointed with what is happening in PKR?

I’ve always been disappointed (with PKR) since way back in 1999 when PKR was first formed when it was called PKN Parti Keadilan Nasional. Even way back then I‘ve always criticized PAS, I’ve criticized DAP, I’ve criticized PKR and I’ve always criticized all the parties in Barisan Nasional. So my criticism is not something of late. It’s something that’s always been there. I’ve criticized the opposition way back even before there was an opposition coalition and back in the mid 90’s while Anwar was still in Umno. So it’s not something new.

Should Anwar step down for the greater good of PKR and Pakatan?

That’s not for me to say. That’s for the members to evaluate. I’m not a member of PKR.


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