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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Raja Petra Kamarudin : I am now persona non grata and living in exile

Sunday, 22 March 2009 13:51

As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor, I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again.

Dear Peter,


It would appear that you have misinterpreted my letter of 14th March 2009 to you.

In all fairness to your readers, I urge you to post the full text of the letter in your Blog.

Thank you and Wassalam,

Aunty Fuziah


Dear Peter,

I am sending you this letter as you have not responded to my telephone calls nor to my telephone message inviting you to the house on Saturday afternoon to talk over family matters, particularly in connection with the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, which you posted in your Blog on 2nd March 2009.

As you already know, I admire your ability to write and express your thoughts, ideas and comments about events in your Blog, especially your mastery of the English language. I have also often reminded you that truth should always prevail in communicating these things to the public. It is also not for you to decide ‘what is clearly lawful’.

Had Tok Uda been alive, he would have considered the content and manner of what you wrote in the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, as a betrayal of the code of conduct and values which he had subscribed to, cherished and passed on to us. And for this to have come from his favourite grandson would certainly have made him collapse in a state of shock.

While Tok Uda, as a true Royalist had demanded loyalty and the upholding of family honour, tradition and adat, he had, on many occasions, also emphasised that we are entitled to our own personal views, accepted our sense and spirit of adventure, freedom of thought and action as you may well have known from the family history. But “RESPECT FOR THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY” or “UPHOLDING LAW AND ORDER“ was his cardinal principle, to be dearly valued and respected by the family at all times.

I believe that in the case of the open letter, you have crossed the line. Such writings would appear to be seditious. Therefore, for the sake of Tok Uda, and, in upholding the family honour, I feel that the only discourse open is to diffuse/redeem this and for you to apologise through your Blog to the rulers and the public.

We all love you Peter in our own small ways, but I have this task to keep the family together, so help me Peter. And so help me too, Ya-Allah.

With my personal good wishes and love to you and Marina and the family,
I remain,


Aunty Fuziah


My Aunty, Raja Fuziah Tun Uda, was referring to my Open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin ( In that piece of 2nd March 2009, I wrote as follows:

Dear Datuk Seri,

I am going to make this short and sweet. No more
cheong hei article from me.

They can lock the Perak State Assembly building if they want. The building is not important. If the building is inaccessible -- say like there is a flood or an earthquake brings it down -- does this mean the State Assembly can’t meet?

Of course it can. It can meet anywhere, not necessarily in that particular meeting.

Go find another meeting place, tonight, now itself, and hold the meeting there tomorrow. Pass a vote of confidence to support you as the Menteri Besar. Then pass all the other motions, including the motion to dissolve the Perak State Assembly. Then drive up to Bukit Chandan as soon as possible and inform Tuanku of the State Assembly’s decision.

If Tuanku refuses to comply with what is clearly lawful, then challenge him and, if necessary, trigger a Constitutional Crisis like never before seen in the 52-year history of this nation.

The people are ready. The next ‘revolution’ is not going to be a race riot a la May 13. It is going to be a class struggle. And I am with the Rakyat on this, never mind my so-called Royal background.

I speak as a Royal but speak for the Rakyat. And rest assured there are many other Royals who share my view. Don’t allow a handful of those who sit on the throne intimidate you into thinking that you are alone, representing the Rakyat, against the Monarchy. No, we are with you, as are many other Royals.

Grab the bull by the horns and bring it to its knees. And if this bull wears a crown so be it. The Rakyat have spoken. Don’t back down now. Go all the way or forever lose that advantage. And if you fail to go all the way, the Rakyat will never forgive you and you will lose our support till the end of time.

Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.

Patek yang hina sembah Tuanku dan memohon perkenan agar Tuanku jangan kecewakan Rakyat. Hasrat Rakyat ialah untuk mencari kebenaran dan keadilan. Biarlah ini juga menjadi hasrat Tuanku.

Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.

On 14th March, my Aunty sent me the e-mail above and my response to that can be read in the following piece called Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah (, which I wrote on 16th March.

At my Aunty’s request, I have published both e-mails. My stand, however, remains the same. I see no need to apologise to His Highness the Sultan of Perak, as I do not feel I have acted in a treasonous or seditious manner. I have already explained why I feel that way in my article of 16th March, so there is no necessity for me to repeat what I have already said.

I have been told by palace sources that the government wants to arrest me and charge me for treason. My lawyers have advised me that no such law exists. Nevertheless, they can charge me for ‘waging war against the King’, like how they charged the Al Maunah group -- who were subsequently found guilty and soon after that hanged in the Sungai Buloh Prison in October 2006.

My reluctance to apologise for what I wrote would certainly be interpreted as an act of defiance on my part. The government will also take the view that my two Internal Security Act detentions in 2001 and 2008 have not ‘done the trick’ and have instead made me more ‘difficult’. This would mean Internal Security Act detention is ‘wasted’ on me. The only way to silence me would be to charge me for ‘treason’ and then send me to the gallows to end my life.

I have no reason to believe they would not secure a conviction. My three ongoing trials and the way they keep ‘moving the goalposts’ every time they appear to be losing their case against me only strengthens this belief. I have written about this many times so I do not need, again, to go through the points of not only my concerns but that of my lawyers as well.

I do not believe that apologising, as my Aunty has asked me to, will change anything. The government will not spare me just because I have apologised. The only way I can be spared would be for me to renounce the opposition and announce that I am joining Umno. I would be expected to explain that I had erred in supporting the opposition and did not see, at the time, that the opposition is wrong and has been misleading Malaysians. Maybe, and I repeat, maybe only then will the government spare me.

But I will not do that. I can’t do that. I have come so far, 30 years to be exact -- the last ten years through the Reformasi Movement -- to now change my stand. Why would I take the trouble of spending more than half my life opposing the government and then, towards the end of my life, do a U-turn, especially if the purpose in doing so is to settle the many legal problems I am now facing?

I never intended to bring shame to my family, in particular to smear the name of my late Grandfather, Raja Sir Tun Uda. If my family feels embarrassed about my actions I apologise for that. But I offer no excuses for what I did. While I apologise for bringing shame to my family, I do not apologise for what I have done and will stand firm in defence of my actions.

I understand my family would now have to disown me. I can never be regarded as the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda -- or a grandson of Tengku Badariah binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah of the great-grandson of His Royal Highness Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah ibni Raja Muda Musa. As much as I am proud of my heritage, my love for my family is more important. And if I have to save my family by becoming an outcast then this is what I must do for the sake of my family.

Yes, I am the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda as well as the great-grandson of Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah. But I am a rakyat’s man. Just because of my royal lineage I can’t take the side of the palace when the rakyat has been wronged. Justice demands I stand on the side of truth. My personal affiliations and family loyalty can’t stand in the way of truth and justice.

I understand I am a Raja first and all others second. And, as a Raja, I am expected to take the stand as a Royalist and defend the palace whenever it is under attack. But that is just it. I did do that in the 1980s when Umno attacked the Rulers. Anwar Ibrahim, then, was in Umno and I turned my back on Anwar when he sided with Umno against the Rulers. I ‘disowned’ Anwar in spite of my earlier support for him when he did not defend the Rulers from Umno.

But I defended the Rulers and turned my back on Anwar not because I am a Raja and therefore must take the stand as a Royalist. I did so because the Rulers were being unfairly attacked and Umno, through the mainstream media, was spinning lies about the so-called misconduct of the Rulers. No doubt, some of the Rulers had misbehaved. But this does not warrant attacking all the Rulers, in particular those who were innocent and had done no wrong.

I paid a heavy price for that. I was then living and doing business in Terengganu. Umno Terengganu, at the behest of the Menteri Besar, went out of its way to bring me down. Eventually, my business was brought to ruin. Umno approached my foreign partners and told them that as long as they had Raja Petra as their partner their business prospects in Malaysia would be very bleak. After awhile, when they realised they were being blacklisted just because they had me as their partner, they ended our partnership and took new partners ‘recommended’ by Umno.

By 1994, I could hardly do any business anywhere in Malaysia. My name was untouchable. The very mention of my name meant you were doomed. The only option I had left was to close down all my businesses and retire, at the age of 44, into my new life as a writer. Umno ‘advised’ me to leave Terengganu, which I did, for my safety and that of my family.

I started writing for the cycling and motorcycling columns of The Star in the early 1990s. In 1994, when I had left Terengganu, I started my own website and wrote about political, social and economic issues. My time was spent staying at home churning out an article a day on various issues. My wife baked cookies, curry-puff and whatnot, which I went around on my motorcycle to sell.

At one stage we were so tight for cash we could no longer even buy new clothes. My wife had to be contented with hand-me-downs from my daughter and, for me, hand-me-downs from my son-in-law. To put food on the table (we ate once a day; dinner only) my wife sold rice in front of the mosque in Sungai Buloh.

One Friday, my wife could not sell even one plate of rice. She sat there for hours waiting for customers but no one bought any. I told me wife I needed to go home for a short while to write an article and left her in front of the mosque all alone. I lied. I just could not stand seeing her sit there with an anxious look on her face, wondering if she was going to sell anything that day. I went home and had a good cry. I cried like a baby, wondering if I had done the right thing in opposing the government and subject my family to this very uncertain future.

Yes, I paid the price for my ‘folly’ in opposing the government. I took a stand and suffered for it. But I never once went to my family to tell them of my problems. My family knew me as a successful businessman with plenty of money. The truth is, I was broke and could not afford to even feed or clothe my family. I suffered in silence. My family never knew what we were going through.

When the situation demanded it, I took the side of the Rulers against Umno. I even turned my back on my friends in Umno, people like Anwar Ibrahim who later became the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Those around Anwar became rich. I too could have become rich. But I chose to be poor on grounds of principle. I never sold my principles just to end my financial predicament.

When they sacked and eventually jailed Anwar, I rallied to his side. Yes, Anwar who had wronged the Rulers, as far as I was concerned. And for that I suffered arrest and detention, to add to my financial predicament, which was still unresolved at that time.

When I said in my 16th March 2009 article that I have earned the right to take the Rulers to task if they err or misbehave, I meant it. And I knew what I was saying when I wrote that. I had never shied away from pain. Even when the pain became unbearable I stood my ground. I just sneaked away and cried. But I never sold out my principles.

Today, my family is unhappy with me because I have acted treasonously towards the Sultan of Perak. Maybe, maybe I am treasonous. But I do not see it as treason. I am of the opinion that the Sultan has erred. And that is why I wanted Nizar to hold his ground and not back down -- which he did. And, most importantly, I have earned that right, the hard way, to take the Rulers to task if they err. And, this, I did.

As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor (my late father has a certificate Kerabat Selangor), I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again. That is what is expected from a loyal Kerabat Selangor who has acted treasonously (durhaka) and has incurred the wrath of the Sultan and the Selangor Royal Family.

As of today, I am persona non grata in Selangor and will live in exile outside Selangor. My decision is final and my stand is firm. There is not a soul on earth who can persuade me to change my stand.

Daulat Tuanku.

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