KUALA LUMPUR: Police will ask Interpol to look out for Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin who has a warrant of arrest against him for failing to turn up at court for trial.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said Tuesday he would liaise with his counterparts especially his Australian counterpart as Raja Petra is believed to be there.
“We will inform our friends through proper channel as there is a warrant out for him,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, Raja Petra was slapped with another warrant of arrest after he failed to turn up for his criminal defamation trial at a Sessions Court here.
Sessions Court judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat issued the arrest warrant after DPP Anselm Charles Fernandis applied for the order.
The judge also issued a show-cause notice to the former Internal Security Act detainee’s wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, as his bailor, for not being at court to explain his absence.
An arrest warrant was also issued by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on April 23 against Raja Petra after he failed to turn up for his sedition trial. He had claimed trial on May 6 last year to publishing a seditious article on April 25 via his news portal.
When asked about the presence of prosecution witnesses in court Tuesday, DPP Anselm told reporters that 12 policemen and two civilians had been subpoenaed for the trial.
Raja Petra, 59, had on July 17 last year claimed trial to three counts of criminal defamation over his statutory declaration on the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The father of three boys and two girls is alleged to have defamed the then Deputy Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, by making a libellous statement in the declaration which he affirmed on June 18 when he knew that it would tarnish her good name.
The grandfather of four also faces two similar charges against Leftenan Kolonel Norhayati Hassan and her husband Leftenan Kolonel Abdul Aziz Buyong.
Raja Petra is said to have committed the offences at High Court (Civil 5) at the Jalan Duta court complex at 10:25am on June 18, last year.
At the outset of court proceedings, DPP Anselm applied for the arrest warrant against the editor and the notice for his wife saying that both were aware that the criminal defamation trial was set for three days from Tuesday.
Raja Petra’s lawyer, Amarjit Singh Sidhu, told the judge that the defence team was waiting to get a trial date at the Court of Appeal for their appeal on the transfer order involving the same case.
“We have now received the appeal records. It is on the transfer of this case from the Magistrates Court to the Sessions Court,” he added.
Upon hearing this, DPP Anselm told the judge that it was a separate matter.
The judge agreed that it was a different issue and immediately issued the order.
He set July 2 for mention of the arrest warrant and show-cause notice.
Raja Petra had failed in his bid on Feb 13 to get his case transferred back to the magistrate’s court for trial.
He had on Nov 25 applied to the High Court to have his case heard by the Magistrates Court.
However, High Court Judicial Commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz ruled that the decision by magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham on Aug 15 last year to transfer the case to the Sessions Court upon application by the Public Prosecutor under Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code was valid and in order.
Raja Petra claims to be in a self-exile from Selangor because of a dispute with the state’s Palace.
He claimed in a Malaysia Today article that he would not be attending the hearings not only because of his brush with the Palace but also due to his fear of another Internal Security Act arrest.
He also said that he did not want to face possible treason charges.
According to the press report, the police believes that the editor is now in Brisbane.