MALAYSIA: Umno officials 'behind seditious postings'
Embattled webmaster says he bribed police officers to admit Umno appointed 'cyber-troopers'
The Straits Times
Friday, July 27, 2007
By Chow Kum Hor
Embattled webmaster Raja Petra Kamaruddin has turned the tables on his accusers, blaming Umno for flooding his controversial website with the inflammatory comments which led to a high-profile police probe.
He claimed that the Youth and Sports Minister and a political secretary at the Finance Ministry -- both senior Umno officials -- were behind efforts to land his Malaysia Today website in trouble.
In an online posting, he made the startling allegation, which he said was based on inside information, that Umno had appointed 25 "cyber-troopers" to post seditious messages on his website.
And the 57-year-old, a cousin of the Sultan of Selangor, said he had told police interrogators the same thing.
The probe was launched after Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib on Monday lodged a police report against Malaysia Today.
But Raja Petra claimed that Youth and Sports Minister Azalina Othman Said and political secretary Datuk Norza Zakaria had been instructed by Umno to launch a counter-offensive on blogs critical of the government.
Datuk Norza has denied any involvement and Datuk Azalina could not be contacted. Both are members of the powerful Umno supreme council.
The accusations were posted on Raja Petra's website yesterday, a day after he was held by police for eight hours in an investigation into alleged seditious remarks against the Malaysian King and Islam.
And he wrote that the "cyber-troopers" sometimes "masquerade as Chinese and whack the Malays and Islam."
"Then other cyber-troopers would respond and whack the Chinese.The Umno cyber-troopers are the ones behind this racial and religious bashing in Malaysia Today," he claimed.
"Then they make a police report alleging that Malaysia Today insults Islam and stirs racial sentiments."
On his website, Raja Petra said that when asked by a police officer how he knew about the Umno tactic, he said he had paid informers inside the party.
"I bribe them to feed me information," he wrote.
"I just slam RM1,000 (S$440) onto the table and ask them to tell me everything, and they sing like a canary.It is not that hard to buy information."
Datuk Norza has denied the allegations.
"Of course they are not true. He is insecure because of the police investigations and has resorted to telling lies," Datuk Norza told The Straits Times.
Raja Petra yesterday also recounted his experience during the interrogation, saying he had refused to discuss the contents of comments left on his website by surfers as they were not his own views.
"I banged the table with my fist and shouted, 'Charge me! Charge me now!'," he wrote in his signature colloquial style.
A police officer then told him that they were not there to charge him but to record his statement, he claimed.
He also recounted how he took a record of the Selangor sultanate's family tree with him when he met police, with the apparent implication that he intended to demonstrate his own royal lineage to show that he would not insult the King.
And the last paragraph of Raja Petra's comments reads: "Round One: Raja Petra.But will I also win Round Two? I don't know yet."
Date Posted: 7/27/2007