Perkasa Chief Insults the Malays


By Kee Thuan Chye
Malaysian Digest
19 December 2012

To say that Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali has little between his ears because of his recent pronouncements is to say something too obvious. And yet one might be tempted to do it to dispel the misinformation he seems to be spreading.

His point about the Malays being unable to compete with the non-Malays because Islam forbids the former to participate in businesses involving gambling, liquor and entertainment outlets is, to put it mildly, moronic. And terribly misleading.

What’s more inexcusable is his statement that the Chinese will become a national security threat if they acquire more political and economic power. It could lead, he warned, to another bloody racial conflict like the May 13 riots. This, I have to say, insults not only the Chinese but the Malays as well.

But there’s surely more to Ibrahim’s antic than what’s on the surface. He has not been in politics this long to appear so simple-minded. His agenda was to strike terror into the hearts of voters. He was employing the scare tactics that Prime Minister Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional (BN) have been resorting to of late as the general election draws near. Coincidentally, at the Umno general assembly last month, Wanita Umno President Shahrizat Abdul Jalil also irresponsibly raised the bogey of May 13.

Ironically, such scare tactics betray a lack of self-confidence on the part of Najib and BN. Ibrahim must have caught on to it and sensed that BN may even lose the elections for the first time. But this does not exonerate him from saying things that are insulting, that could engender hatred. Based neither on fact nor reasoned argument.

After all, the industries that are considered haram to Muslims make up only a small percentage of the total economy. Why is he making a mountain of such a molehill?

He uses the inability of the Malays to make money from these business sectors as a reason for the Government to continue with affirmative action for them. Is that a sound argument?

Malays don’t need to rely on these sectors to succeed. Ibrahim only needs to look at Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary’s business empire to see how a Muslim can prosper bountifully without touching any of the haram industries. That would be enough to debunk his theory that the Muslims are economically disadvantaged.

More important, when Ibrahim talks about the economic situation of the Malays, why must he invariably compare it to that of the non-Malays? In order to draw the sinister conclusion that the latter are a threat?

That the Chinese are being insulted is obvious. I very much doubt the community has any intentions whatsoever of being a threat to anyone, especially their fellow citizens, so it’s not fair to consider them as such. If of late, they have been more vocal in agitating for their rights as Malaysians and calling for better governance for the good of the country, should that be considered threatening?

But what about the Malays? Why do I say that Ibrahim’s talk about another May 13 is insulting to the Malays as well?

Because he is implying that they will be envious of Chinese success. He is implying meanness in the hearts of Malays. He is implying that they cannot stand it when others achieve success and, as such, they will clash with them. He is insulting all self-respecting and peace-loving Malays.

May 13 did not happen because ordinary, responsible and peace-loving Malays decided to clash with non-Malays. It was orchestrated, as we now know. People in the ruling party whipped up sentiments to amok point. It was politically engineered, to bring down Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then prime minister.

In a sense, the Chinese were made scapegoats by the plotters, who capitalised on the theme of racial conflict to cover up their own ulterior ambitions.

Such riots don’t happen in Malaysia – at least not on such a major scale – without their being initiated by political beings. And a riot will be all the more powerful if the political beings engineering it also happen to be in power. If May 13 is going to happen again, it will have to be engineered by the people in power. Ordinary Malaysians will not fight without cause. We can be sure of that.

Ibrahim completely negates the decency and sense of responsibility of the Malay people.

He also disregards the prospect that the Malays themselves have the ability to succeed.

Why does he clamour for continued affirmative action? Is it not to perpetuate a cause that will serve his political enhancement? Is it not to pander to a market that will buy his rhetoric and vote him in again?

But is it a cause still relevant? Is it viable in today’s globalised world of which Malaysia is an integral part?

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad – who is, incidentally, Patron of Perkasa – should be well aware of the answer even if he often says the opposite of what he knows. Recently, however, he said that affirmative action for the Malays would have to be phased out in the future. And he seemed to momentarily make sense … until he qualified it by adding, “but only when we are certain that the Malays can compete in the market” without “the crutches”.

With his selective memory these days, he has obviously forgotten he said something contrary to that in his interview with The Star in October 2004: “We have tried to tell them if you depend on subsidies, you are going to be very weak. But they don’t seem to understand. We tell them if you use crutches, you will not be able to stand up. Throw away the crutches, stand up straight because you still have the capacity.”

Unfortunately, Mahathir has reverted to being a great advocate of crutches. But the question is, how do “we” decide when the Malays will be ready to throw them away? What are the concrete criteria? When it is as arbitrary and unscientific as “when they are ready”, the issue can remain unresolved indefinitely.

At least, the New Economic Policy (NEP) had a quantified target – that of the Malays achieving 30 per cent share of the economy by 1990. But that year has come and gone and the affirmative action still continues. It has, in fact, now stretched to more than 40 years of implementation. Why are the Malays still not ready?

Perhaps they already are. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of switching mindsets to accept that one is ready for something. Moreover, some Malays will say, as Mahathir has pointed out, that they don’t need crutches. The proof of this is that millionaire Malays are buying multi-million ringgit houses (but they are still getting the 7 per cent discount – do millionaires deserve affirmative action?).

In any case, if we accept that the Malays are not ready, then who is to blame?

Who is responsible for getting the Malays ready? Isn’t it the Government? And who has formed the bulk of the Government all these decades? Isn’t it Umno?

So why has the Government, headed by Umno, the party for the Malays, not succeeded in getting the Malays ready after all these decades?

Doesn’t it mean that Umno has failed?

If Mahathir and his sidekicks, like Ibrahim Ali, still clamour for crutches, Umno must have failed. To all intents and purposes then, the party that claims to serve the interests of the race it represents has failed its own race.

So Ibrahim has no cause to deflect the issue onto the non-Malays, just as no one should make the Chinese scapegoats for May 13.

Mahathir is one to talk. It was under his watch that the NEP got extended when it should have expired. He would never acknowledge it but in 1990, he must have realised that, as the supreme leader of Umno then, he had failed to meet the target.

So what he says now is nothing but political posturing. It’s the same with Ibrahim. He, too, knows why he says the dumb things he says, because he can’t really be that dumb.

And because all this talk – by both men – is to serve a political cause rather than the people and the nation, their action is all the more insidious. And should be taken with huge doses of scepticism.

They may not know it but they have lost a lot of maruah (dignity) for pursuing this course.

Maruah being an important element of Malay culture, reasonable and self-respecting Malays would surely not want to lose it themselves.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians, available in bookstores together with its Malay translation, Jangan Kelentong Lagi, Kita Semua Orang Malaysia.

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  1. #1 by john on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 - 10:55 pm

    As G13 is drawing close, such rhetorics along racial line, threats, etc. will make headlines in MSM and topics for UMNO/bn to harp on continuously – to entice votes . Theme : TO BEG, STEAL OR LIE for votes !

  2. #2 by monsterball on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 1:43 am

    From the day Perkasa was formed Mahathir agreed to be the Patron shows who Ibrahim Ali is.
    They have him…Ali Hasan to stir up hatreds and race issues.
    Malaysians treat them as coocoos….crackos..weirdos.
    The main issue is why police and MACC do not arrest them
    The Umno b basket is full of rotten apples.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 1:51 am

    This is to put it mildly to avoid moderation.
    But I must say vast majority Malaysians are ready…for crackos supported by Najib..to stir up troubles….no problem.
    We are calm and composed and that must not be taken as cowards.
    Malaysia will be free by Freedom Fighters…following Mahatma Gandi’s advises…non violence with disobedience.

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 8:31 am

    It does not take much brain to say Ibarhim Ali insults the Malay – the issue really is why or how is it Ibrahim Ali think he can profit by digging at unsound insecurities?

    Ibrahim Ali is preying on fears that have at best very little basis. Because he looks down on his own people and because decades of entitlement and corruption means he does not have to be responsible for those that have no power over him be it other races or his own…

    He is a career political predator. There is not much reason in his talking. There is no society in his reasoning. He is simply an animal, a beast – you listen to his sounds or voice only to know if he means to threaten you and then decide to banish him, lock him up or put him down..

  5. #5 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 8:33 am

    Malay can be high competitive if they want too. They are also a very creative people. Many have been excel in industries like architecture, design and many many more. Like any other race, you need not to be Lim Goh Tong to be billionaires, even Genting empire not solely built on gambling. If you only rely on gambling you are dead, but no doubts gambling do make rich much easier.

    Malay was weak because the politicians want them to be so that they can be controlled and being their supporters. Malay culture is fine and polite and thus easy manipulate by leaders like Mahathir and many of UMNO leaders who keep suggesting that Malay are weak and must be given special political treatment. This is the Master and Servant rule. The master also make them weak so that the servants can always being their servants. Not only servants but an obedient servants for ever. Malay will never excel under the UMNO rule

  6. #6 by baby-putra on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 8:52 am

    It is the BIG SCALE corruption among BN that stopped our Malay brothers to progress, NOT non-Malays who got the blame for it. It is Malays who lose out big time during BN ruling for the past 50 years because of their good nature in heart and trusted their UMNO thieves to help them out of hard time, but that trust had being taken for granted by UMNO and became WHOLE SCALE CORRUPTION and thus turned Malaysia into infamous country for money laundering in the world. The sooner Malaysian wake realising the problem less suffering in Malaysia !!!!!

  7. #7 by baby-putra on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 9:02 am

    To beat and destroy Perkasa-hog ibrahim and his master mahatir is to REDEFINE bumiputra to include all Malaysian who were borne in Tanah Malaysia irrespect of race and religion, isn’t that a great idea !!!! Ha Ha

  8. #8 by sotong on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 9:06 am

    Misguided and extremists might get the wrong message and think it is OK to cause violence.

    To threaten or incite hatred or violence is a criminal act….these people should be put away by the law – but they know they are protected by/above the law.

  9. #9 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 9:58 am

    Corruption is colour blind as it involve taking money and money is what all human being are chasing after all. But Malay are seen to be on the take simply most of those who are entrusted with the enforcement power are Malay. eg the police force, the kastam, JPJ, immigration etc are those who are most likely to have the chances being subject to taking bribe.

    On the private sectors such as AP system, the bumi share quota ect also like subject to corrupt practises. The AP is designed for the Bumi and instead of using the APs to do business they sell them for quick money that also a kind of corruption.

    On the other hand politicians are also on the take because they have much opportunity open up for them. Like the any of the privatise jobs we know there is element of corruption by inflated the price and share out with the politician who has the power in approving them. This is what we usually knew as the crony system. There are plenty of them the big one is PKFZ, NFC etc and the list just endless. The latest is the AES and the list is keep adding and renewing. As far as BN is on power the list will never end.

    Funds for the handicapped athletes also being abused. Sport fund, tourism promotions funds, fund for the hard care poor etc are all subject to be abused.

    Government tenders etc. Many of those people involve simply are government servants.

  10. #10 by tuahpekkong on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 10:39 am

    This disgusting Katak would sometimes jump out from his well to croak, just to make sure that people still remember his existence. To say that the non-Malays get richer through participation in businesses involving gambling, liquor and entertainment outlets is utter rubbish. It is quite the contrary. Just look at the amount of tax the government receives each year from these activities, easily surpassing RM 5 billion I reckon. Katak Ali would sometimes spurt out contorted and muddled views about the non-Malays, especially the Chinese. Perhaps his grey matter is even smaller than that of a frog. Talking about May 13, I don’t think anybody has the capacity to cause another apart from those in power, and who are those people holding real power now? I think everybody wants to live in harmony, there is no reason for people to create trouble. As for the NEP, I think it has achieved its target long ago if we include the GLCs and the portion given but subsequently disposed of for a quick profit.

  11. #11 by cseng on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 10:40 am

    How true to say GE13 is TDM’s personal legacy war?

    He is sure to deploy the last card, the ACE! if indeed he lose, can his last ACE works? maybe thunderstorm but hopefully no rain, we are at 2013 not 1969 la, bro…

  12. #12 by Winston on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 11:17 am

    Without the non-Malays, the scums in UMNO will eat shit!
    What’s more, where do they get the wealth to siphon out?
    To the tune of hundreds of billions of Ringgit!!
    The ghost of May13 has been laid to rest by DSAI long ago!
    Not only that, what these desperadoes are doing now is to resuscitate this ghost to win votes and that’s all there is to it!
    They are so desperate that it seems this is the only game in town!!!!
    The fact is that the non-Malays have discounted such ghoulish tales.
    And the Malays?
    Many of them have joined the ranks of the opposition!!!
    They have grown wise to the fact that they have been used and abused!!!
    Just for info, it seemed even a Ms Tow Truck in the southern stronghold of the MCA had admitted in her blog that droves of their members were seen leaving a function while their leader was giving a speech not long ago!!!
    In fact, she sounded completely downhearted!
    Things have certainly gotten very rotten for such people whose comeuppance is fast approaching.

  13. #13 by cseng on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 11:18 am

    //Perkasa Chief Insults the Malays//

    An angle sees it as an insult. The devil, however, try to incite!

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Thursday, 20 December 2012 - 2:45 pm

    Expect more extreme n racist remarks (full page adverts) fr UmnoB/BN n Perkosa in d next 100 days b4 GE13!
    “Takkan Melayu Hilang di Dunia”
    “Ketuanan Melayu”
    “Si mata sepet n Si botol balik kampung”

  15. #15 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 7:05 am

    There is no doubt that this bloke together, you know who, is undermining the the fabric of the Malay society for self-benefit. It is equally sad that many Malays thought they [IA and Mentor] are fighting for them- Malays! The results of such acts are so obvious; starting with the PISA and TIMMS reports; even the great Mamak himself had turned a deaf ear to the reports; pretending that he is oblivious to it and had nothing to do with it though he engineered the foundation for the decline of the society which he claimed to be the champion. Now this FROG is being asked to shout on other issues, trying to divert from the truth. If the majority of Malaysians -essentially Malays still cling to all the rhetoric of such characters, then they have only themselves to blame!

  16. #16 by Cinapek on Friday, 21 December 2012 - 10:47 am

    “They may not know it but they have lost a lot of maruah (dignity) for pursuing this course…”

    ” Maruah”? Don’t think IA knows the meaning of this word. Likewise the meaning of such words as “integrity”, “gratitude” and “credibility”.

    Not many people may know this but when he was put into cold storage after his faction, led by Tengku Razaleigh lost out to TDM for the control of UMNO in the ’80s, he parasited himself with a Chinese controlled company. He ran errands and was glad for the handouts. Where was his dignity then?

    Now he badmouths the very people who helped him when he was down and out. Such of his kind cannot be having too much credibility in his utterances.

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