PETALING JAYA (Oct 6, 2008): By Tan Yi Liang
The sedition trial of blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin kicked off today with the defence pointing out that several entries in his news portal Malaysia-Today.net were posted during his Sept 12 detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
A bearded Raja Petra waves on arrival at PJ court.
Raja Petra's counsel, J. Chandra, pointed this out during the cross-examination of the prosecution's first witness, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission deputy director Harme Mohamed, at the sessions court here.
Harme, who was called as an expert witness, said it could be possible for someone to have access to the news portal to post the article titled 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' on April 25 under Raja Petra's byline without his consent or knowledge.
Chandra first asked Harme whether he was aware Raja Petra has been under remand since Sept 12, to which Harme replied in the affirmative.
Chandra: There have since been postings on No Holds Barred (a section in Malaysia-Today)?
Chandra: There were several postings with the RPK byline. Do you agree?
Chandra: He has been under the ISA and bylines have been coming out under his name. Who is doing the postings?
Harme: Somebody else.
Chandra: Would you then agree that there are others who have access to the website?
Chandra had earlier tried to establish that it would have been impossible for Raja Petra to monitor all traffic on Malaysia-Today.net.
Harme agreed with Chandra that a posting of an article could be done by anyone having access to username or password for Malaysia-Today.
He also agreed that Malaysia-Today is accessible worldwide at any time of the day or week and that the owner would not be able to fully monitor web traffic.
When he took the stand, Harme gave a four-hour "lecture" on the workings of emails, websites, Internet service providers, Wikipedia, web-hosters and blogs during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Farhan Read.
He explained that all one needed to access a website as an administrator was the administrator's user name and password.
This point was brought up again in the cross-examination.
To a question by Chandra, Harme agreed that to access a particular website, the administrator has his own user name and password, and that the information could be shared by other people.
Chandra: So, when you see a posting on a blog or website, you do not know who could have posted it, anyone could have access to the user name and password. Do you agree?
Harme Mohamed - first witness
Raja Petra, who arrived in court to the cheers of more than 60 supporters, including DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu, said he was looking forward to the abolition of the ISA and other laws restrictive of freedom.
"I dream of the day the government will be brought down, and we will abolish all draconian laws," said Raja Petra, who cited the Official Secrets Act, the Printing and Presses Act and the Sedition Act as well as the ISA as "draconian laws".
The sedition trial, which is being presided over by Justice Rozina Ayob, is set to go on through this week over Raja Petra's article entitled 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' posted on Malaysia-Today on April 25.
He was charged on May 6 with committing the offence at his house on Jalan BRP 5/5, Bukit Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh on April 25.
If convicted, he can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to three years or both under Section 4(1)(c) of the Act.
After he was charged, Raja Petra was served with a two-year detention order under the ISA on Sept 22 and is now detained at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.