Page last updated at 07:04 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 08:04 UK

Malaysian blogger boycotts trial

Raja Petra Kamarudin, file pic from May 2008
Raja Petra was arrested under a law that allows detention without trial

Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin has failed to appear in court for his trial on sedition charges.

He wrote on his blog that he believed he would not receive a fair trial and so would go into "self-exile".

A prominent government critic, he has published numerous claims of alleged wrongdoing by senior ministers.

He was detained for two months last year under a law which allows someone to be jailed without trial if thought a threat to national security.

When he failed to appear in court on Thursday morning, a new arrest warrant was issued against him.

His wife, Marina Lee, who paid his bail, was also absent from court.

Fears of re-arrest

Raja Petra's lawyer, J Chandra, told the court that his client had gone into self-exile for "reasons that are well known".

Raja Petra wrote in his blog: "If I were to turn up in court today I would never be allowed to leave."

He claimed he had "reason to believe" the government was planning to re-arrest him.

He also appears to have another reason to skip bail, hinting in blog postings that he'd had a feud with the Sultan of Selangor.

He was due in court to face charges of sedition for an article he published which linked current Prime Minister Najib Razak to the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Mr Najib has consistently denied any involvement.

The BBC's correspondent in Kuala Lumpur, Robin Brant, said Raja Petra is closely associated with the political opposition and has been a long time critic of Mr Najib and the ruling party.

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