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RTM testifies against RPK - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Radio Television Malaysian (RTM) producer Hasshim Abu Hanifah took the witness stand at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today and told the court that blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin had admitted writing about murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Hasshim who was the second witness to appear in the sedition case against the Malaysia Today editor said that Raja Petra made the admission during an RTM talk show called 'Blog', which was telecast live on RTM 1 on April 27.

“If I am not mistaken he (Raja Petra) had mentioned that he wrote about Altantuya two days (before the programme) 'Blog',” Hasshim said in reply to a question by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff.

Justice Rozina Ayob, who is presiding over the case, then intervened and asked for the relevance of bringing up Altantuya.

Ishak said the question was raised to prove that the article, which was deemed, seditious had been written by Raja Petra.

The DPP then went on to probe Hasshim over details that were discussed in the TV talk show.

However, the 49-year-old producer, who hosted the second episode of the programme which featured Raja Petra, stressed that he could not remember the “specifics”.

Asked whether the title and the particulars of the allegedly seditious article were discussed during the programme, Hasshim replied “no”.

Allow recorded VCD

Before questioning Hasshim, the public prosecutors also asked for permission to play the video recording of the RTM programme.

However, his request was objected to by defence lawyer Gobind Singh, who said the DPP was trying to “substitute the witness’s evidence with a VCD”.

Gobind added that as “the witness clearly cannot recall what was said during the interview”, the VCD should not be marked as evidence.

The public prosecutor then said the video clip was necessary to refresh the memory of the witness.

Judge Rozina then interceded, “Why not the other way around… ask the question first, if he forgets or needs to refresh his memory than I will consider playing it”.

Non-committal responses

Hasshim also said that he only vaguely remembered the programme which he had hosted and often gave non-committal responses which annoyed the judge. At one juncture, she told the DPP to better prepare their witnesses.

Raja Petra was charged under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act for publishing an article entitled ‘Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell’ which he posted on Malaysia Today on April 25.

If found guilty of sedition, the popular blogger could face up to three years imprisonment or not more than RM5,000 fine, or both.

Raja Petra was slapped with a two-year detention order on Sept 22 and is being held at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.

During the cross-examination, defence counsel Jadadish Chandra asked Hasshim whether he followed updates on the Malaysia Today portal.

Hasshim said ‘yes’ and that he regularly visited the website to retrieve information for his work.

Chandra also asked Hasshim if the ‘Blog’ programme was launched to trap bloggers. Hasshim denied it.

Another RTM programme producer, Mohd Zayid Naim, also took the stand today.

More than 30 supporters were seen outside the court, waiting to catch a glimpse of Raja Petra.

The trial continues tomorrow.