“I respect him for his views and for his style of (comment), but I do hope that Raja Petra comes up with both sides of the spectrum, so that his reporting (is) balanced. (This will make) him more popular."
On Raja Petra, who is living in self-imposed exile ostensibly to escape being detained again under the ISA, Rais described him as an expressive individual who has had his say on many matters.
“I only hope that he also gives us credit for some of the things we do. But he appears to be on a one-slice [sic] action all the time.
“I respect him for his views and for his style of (comment), but I do hope that Raja Petra (left) comes up with both sides of the spectrum, so that his reporting (is) balanced. (This will make) him more popular.
“For example, if we are successful in helping the community in an anti-poverty drive, why can't he say that it is a good move?”
Rais called on the blogger to be fair in his assessment of situations in Malaysia.
“My prime minister (Najib Abdul Razak) is entitled to his view (on Raja Petra) and I am entitled to mine. But if everything in this world is too fair and too just, of course we would not have this talk, would we?”
Rais also said people need not be fearful of arrests under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, which his ministry enforces.
However, he said the public should “always respect” laws like the ISA and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which are under the home minister’s purview.
Several bloggers have already been charged with sedition since February, for posting comments on the Perak royalty amidst the ongoing political imbroglio in the state.
Rais described the emergence of blogging as a new trend that has overcome the limitations posed to the public in accessing the print media to express their views.
He said blogs are still a novelty in Malaysia, but that no party can curtail blogging because of the emergency of a value system that demands freedom of expression.
“However, do it responsibly. If you libel a guy or you defame a guy, you have to answer for it in the court of law,” he added.
“I think that is fair... It is better that you verify your facts (before you write). If they bring you to court, you have answer to it.”