KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin appears to have gone on the lam after he failed to turn up in court for his sedition trial this morning because of what he says on his blog is a "self-imposed exile" from Selangor.
A warrant of arrest has been issued for the blogger-turn-fugitive and his wife who is his bailor.
In a posting on his blog this morning RPK, as he is better known, claimed that he had decided to become a fugitive to avoid being detained and because of a family feud with the Sultan of Selangor over his views on the Perak constitutional crisis.
It is not clear if RPK and his wife are still in the country. Neither have been answering the telephone in the past few days.
If RPK is overseas, he could become a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.
He has used his blog to make unrelenting attacks against Najib and his wife, accusing them of involvement in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian lover of the PM’s associate Abdul Razak Baginda.
RPK was supposed to go on trial today as he has been charged under section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 which carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years' jail or both upon conviction.
He is accused of publishing the article “Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell” on his Malaysia Today website.
This morning his lawyer J. Chandra informed Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob that his client was on a self-imposed exile from the state for “reasons that are well known”.
“You know these ‘well known reasons,’ so please highlight them to the court,” Rozina told him.
“The accused is posting his reasons on his website this morning,” said Chandra.
“You expect the court to go through that, is it?” the judge replied.
Chandra proceeded to tell the court that RPK, who is a minor Selangor royal, had had a falling out with his family over his comments about palace involvement in the Perak constitutional crisis.
In his blog post, RPK also claimed that he was expecting to be detained again very soon by the authorities because he and his associates were being trailed by police.
He also wrote of his fear that if he was detained again he would not obtain freedom so easily.
RPK was detained under the Internal Security Act last year but a court subsequently freed him.
The influential blogger also claimed he would not get a fair trial.