Does Perkasa Get the Hint?

by Kee Thuan Chye

The Sultan of Selangor has done the right thing in withdrawing from his earlier agreement to open the inaugural general meeting of Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa) on March 27. Although the reason given is that the Sultan does not want to be seen to be supporting a politician, namely, Ibrahim Ali, who heads the NGO, the more important implication is that right-wing organisations, even though they are championing Malay rights, have to be “tolerant and respect other races” and operate within existing laws.

Such a message is timely, especially since the country seems more divided than ever along racial lines. After the 2008 general election, Umno and certain individuals have been playing on racial sentiments to win back the Malays who had voted against the party, by warning them that the race is under threat. This has provided the impetus for organisations like Perkasa to garner support and step up right-wing activism.

If Ibrahim Ali is to be believed, Perkasa is attracting new members every day. He expects a gathering of 10,000 at the March 27 general meeting, which is pretty phenomenal for an organisation that is only one and a half years old. He has since gone on to form the Majlis Perunding NGO Melayu, a consultative council comprising 80 or so NGOs pledging to defend Malay rights, the institution of the Malay rulers and Islam.

Logically speaking, there seems no need to defend any of these because no one is foolhardy enough to fight them. The special position of the Malays is well protected, the Malay rulers are on a strong wicket, and Islam is firmly entrenched as the main religion of the country. The administration of this country, backed by the military and other institutions, is committed to ensuring that they will be upheld. Who would be bold or strong enough to go against that?

This is, however, not logical enough for Perkasa and its comrades. The Majlis Perunding NGO Melayu has asked to meet with Prime Minister Najib Razak before he announces his New Economic Model, which is expected to be soon. Ibrahim Ali, who is also their spokesman, has made it clear that “we want any policy made by the Government to get support from all quarters”. He also said that “if the Government wants the support of NGOs, (it) should also give due consideration to our views and feelings”.

This stance taken by Ibrahim and the council of NGOs reflects what the Jews would call chutzpah. They are thus encouraged probably because the Government has been taking a tolerant attitude towards them. Some political observers feel that the Government is actually making use of these right-wingers to articulate what the Government itself can’t, without contradicting its outward advocacy for 1Malaysia. Perkasa and its ilk serve the purpose of uniting those Malays who feel they are under threat, which Umno welcomes, while Najib goes about wooing the non-Malays with his multi-racial sloganeering.

Meanwhile, yet another right-wing group has emerged. Calling itself the Organisation of Former Umno Elected Representatives, it purports to champion Malay interests in the fields of economics, education, religion and language. That seems to somewhat duplicate the agenda of Perkasa and the Majlis Perunding NGO Melayu but it doesn’t seem to matter to its members. Perhaps they feel that by dint of their being former Umno representatives, they may be better received and considered more influential.

The trend, on the whole, is rather disturbing. The rise of the right wing could further widen the communication and harmony gap between the different races. It’s already giving the impression that a section of the Malays are getting agitated. The sad thing is, they’re getting agitated for the wrong reasons. Their enemy is not the non-Malays, but the right-wing leaders would have them believe this is so. And this is being abetted by the mainstream media.

Khalid Samad, the PAS MP for Shah Alam, recently said that Perkasa is “not a problem”. He asserted that “they don’t have much influence in society”. One hopes he is right. If the right-wing elements within Umno itself should be empowered by this growing development, the consequences might be dire. An Umno controlled by right-wingers is not a pretty prospect. Imagine a Malaysia regressing into becoming an ethnocentric culture when the signs of progress are pointing in the opposite direction. We will all lose out.

One of the messages conveyed by the Sultan of Selangor’s private secretary, Lela Bakti Mohamad Munir Bani, when announcing His Highness’s decision to not officiate at Perkasa’s meeting, contains much-needed advice: “Perkasa should be tolerant and respect other races in Malaysia, live in harmony and work together to develop the country.” There’s nothing equivocal in that message. If Perkasa still doesn’t get the hint, those who support it deserve what they get.

  1. #1 by chengho on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 6:02 am

    just like Hindraf ,freedom of expression .

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 6:11 am

    Perkasa might have forgotten that the Sultan of Selangor had said before that “Malaysia belongs to all races, not just the Malays. The country is what it is today because of the contributions of all races and that is something we must acknowledge.”

    However never mind that HRH could not open the inaugural general meeting of Perkasa on March 27. There is always a stand-in in former premier Tun Dr Mahathir.

    According to Malaysiakini’s report March 23, 10 7:08, Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution today alleged in the Dewan Rakyat that Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali – famous for his virulent Malay rights activism – posesses shares in a gaming company owned by tycoon Vincent Tan and all the latter could do was to laugh off allegations of such links…. (M’kini’s report filed by Hazlan Zakaria Mar 12, 2010).

    See this link :

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:23 am

    The threat of Perkasa is not their influence on others but rather the actual violence and damage they can ignite. It does not take a lot of people to cause actual violence and damage to hold our entire society hostage to fear and despair.

    There need to an equal and measured respond to Perkasa which is for example to bring out the Indian, Orang Asli, natives of Sabah and Sarawak or women groups out to protest their marginalisation. Its these kinds of measured respond that can counter even those few who contemplate violence and damage.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:38 am

    Ibrahim Ali had been described by Malaysiakini (Chinese version) as a double-face man who owns share in a gambling company called Ascot Sports. This company’s income reaches RM1 billion but got its 20 year license for only RM20 million under the former Finance Minister/PM before Tun Abdullah Badawi took office.

  5. #5 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:50 am

    The decision of the Selangor ruler is timely and correct.
    All the worms are now crawling out of the cupboard as they know time is running out for them.
    Why do we need an association of former MPs? Do they also have other vested interests? Maybe their pensions are too generous so they don’t have to worry about ordinary problems but to stir up trouble.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:54 am

    Ibrahim Katak managed to get Mamakthir to open his AGM. It proves two things: (1) the Mamakthir is a political opportunist showing his racist fangs to win back some of his dwindling support and (2) it has to take a Mamak to defend Malay rights.

    Let’s see what transpires at the AGM. Let’s take pictures of the Perkasa leadership and see who supports such a movement. It is important to see who comes out of the closet.

  7. #7 by sotong on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:55 am

    Their leaders had failed them… they have to fend for themselves like all other hard working ordinary people.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:55 am

    ….and Mamakthir’s own daughter will be amongst the first to denounce her father’s involvement in the Perkasa AGM.

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 9:35 am

    If one digs further into the history of this Ali, you would be wondering as to why he put TDM on board. His dream on transport business was dashed by the later with a stroke of the pen. Now they appear to have found common platform!! REAL Malaysian branded politicians. They will share the same sarong at their convenience!!!!

  10. #10 by Godfather on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 9:53 am

    Ibrahim Katak is a true jaguh kampung. A true hypocrite who doesn’t mind taking haram money from whoever. I am eagerly awaiting to find out who else is championing the Perkasa movement.

  11. #11 by wanderer on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 10:27 am

    How to get the hint, when the leader of this so called, “Melayu interests fighter” is having a bloated wallet stuffed with HARAM MONEY!!
    What a blooming hypocrite…Tun Mamak you are endorsing such a cheapskate?

  12. #12 by kpt99 on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 10:33 am

    Vincent Tan’s business is Tun Mahatir business,

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 10:50 am

    BN + Perkasa = Be End

  14. #14 by johnnypok on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 12:56 pm

    NEP has created a handicapped society.

    Perkasa will cause them to be extinct.

  15. #15 by Comrade on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 1:14 pm

    “Perkasa should be tolerant and respect other races in Malaysia, live in harmony and work together to develop the country.” -KTC

    This is what Perkasa should practise all the time.

    In fact, PERKASA stands for “Please Exercise Respect & Kinship Above Selfishness Always”.

  16. #16 by frankyapp on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 1:29 pm

    Ibraham Ali’s action is just like chicken hot shxt.

  17. #17 by a2a on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 3:39 pm

    Last time, the Dr. M turned out as an indian MAMA descendant.

    This time, it would not be surprised if this guy Ali turn out as an Indonesian Immigrant descendant.

    Are here to disturbing our land Malaysia for progress further.

    Anyone check him out?

  18. #18 by a2a on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 3:47 pm

    Last time, Dr M turned out as an indian Mama descendant.

    This time, it would not be surprised if this Ali turn out as an Indonesian Immigrant descendant.

    Are they coming here BLOCKING our land MALAYSIA to progress further up?

    Anyone check him out?

  19. #19 by DCLXVI on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:42 pm

    chengho: “just like Hindraf ,freedom of expression .”

    They call it ‘freedom of expression’ only when it’s in the favour of Umno-BN, but when it’s against Umno-BN, they call it an illegal assembly…

  20. #20 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:43 pm

    Ibrahim Ali is a well-established unabashed no-principled self-centred political chameleon

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 7:44 pm

    IA is a well-established unabashed no-principled self-centred political chameleon

  22. #22 by johnnypok on Thursday, 25 March 2010 - 1:20 am

    IA is an idiot without brain.

  23. #23 by Motorist on Thursday, 25 March 2010 - 11:02 am

    When you choose to be deaf & blind to the outside world, do you really think this kampung hero frog under the coconut shell, can take a subtle hint?

    Kampung heroes like PERKASA & Organisation of Former Umno Elected Representatives are just old men clinging to golden memories, while the world have moved on to bigger & better things.

  24. #24 by K S Ong on Friday, 26 March 2010 - 11:14 am

    We talk about changing the mindset of the majority of the people. What if they are quite happy with the rural way of life and we are trying to change something which they are comfortable with?

    Some of you would have come across the story about the Americans observing some Mexican fishermen and offering their management expertise to make them millionaire industrialists but the end objective was to have a quiet life indulging in fishing and and other retirement type of recreations!

    Whether we are industrious or not, also depends on the individual. Some are just born with a laid back attitude and even if inheriting a huge estate would rather sell than having to worry over management and day-to-day operations.

    Instead of squandering with half-baked measures, why not provide them with opportunities with the condition that they have to prove that they have the inclination to do what they are supposed to do? Any provision not taken up should be reserved for future applicants. In terms of education, only those who can make it are given the chance while those who cannot should take up training in skills which are much needed compared to a general degree.

    The amount of leakages amounting to tens of billions could have been able to pay for the allotment of free rural land of at least an acre each to those who prefer to stay in the countryside.

    Even the use of agricultural land shows the difference between those who are passionate and those who are not. Malay reserved lands are being sold at less than half of those unreserved open market lands. Those with lands prefer to leave them idle while those without and could not afford, secretly clear and plant on land not belonging to them. If lucky, without interference, they managed to gain from their hard labour. Just imagine what they could do if given the opportunity?

    But then again, whatever policy has its inherent problems related to implementation. Unfairness due to political connections, nepotism and cronyism are so common that we have come to expect them as a way of life.

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