Sunday, August 17, 2008

Face me in court, says lawyer Muhammad Shafee to RPK

Lawyer Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will be filing police reports against Raja Petra later today for several offences, including criminal defamation, sedition and those under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 and the Penal Code for vulgarities uttered against him in three articles published in Raja Petra's Malaysia-Today online news site.

"He made racist statements and allowed commenters on his blog to make vulgarities. That's why I consider him to be a common pariah. A full-blooded royal would never allow vulgarities to be published," Shafee said.

"Raja Petra does not have an open blog site which allows for free debate. He moderates his blog site. He only publishes what he likes to publish. He's a typical coward. He claims to want an open society and rule of law.

"If he's daring enough... come and face me in court, face me before a tribunal. If he has no money, I will pay."

Shafee added that he was even willing to let Raja Petra have his pick of which judge should preside over the trial if the latter wished, in order that the trial could begin right away.

"Nobody has ever taken him on. I want this trial to go on as quickly as possible," said Shafee.

Or if he were court-shy, Shafee said, they could settle their dispute through other channels, such as before an independent arbitration council with members of the panel selected by both of them.

"I want to expose and throw a challenge to Raja Petra. He's a total fraud, a media fraud and a villain. I am compelling him to disclose the names of his commenters. This is the way cowards operate.

"Don't you think that's the cruelest thing to do to any man? You allege against him but don't want to come forth and say why. If only Raja Petra will stand out as a man and not a coward."

Shafee had filed a defamation suit against Raja Petra last week for publishing an article that named him as the mastermind behind the latest sodomy allegation against former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Shafee hotly denied the allegation and said that Raja Petra had targeted him based on rumours after the Sodomy II incident.

Apparently, there were whispers that Shafee would be appointed the prosecution for the case against Anwar.

"I heard the same rumours. Raja Petra is not a clever fellow. This article was meant to disqualify me from standing as prosecutor. The funny thing is, this rumour is not true," Shafee explained.

He also elaborated that prior to this incident, there was no animosity between him and Raja Petra. "He is a puppet for some political animal. As we say: 'Baling batu, sembunyi tangan'," Shafee added, quoting a Malay proverb.

Last Friday, Shafee served the court orders for Raja Petra to remove the offending article and comments from his website or face legal action.

However, Raja Petra claimed that Shafee had acted in contempt of court for serving him the summons in a courtroom.

An incensed Shafee today responded that Raja Petra was the last person who should lecture him on what constituted contempt of court.

"You cannot serve in a court when the court is in session, when the judges and counsel are speaking. But a courtroom itself has no magic. Raja Petra is the last person to lecture me on contempt of court. He does not know what contempt of court means."

From Malaysian Insider. By Debra Chong

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