Is PERKASA relevant to the Malays?
If you go around the kampongs and ask randomly whether the Malays know what PERKASA is, most of them won’t be able to tell you anything about it except for the men where they thought it is a new aphrodisiac product in the market.
The only people that know are mostly against PERKASA and those that have the knowledge and keep following the news that the media reported on its activities. There is no real support for PERKASA from the majority of the Malays. Even most of those who supported UMNO, couldn’t be bothered by it, and in Kelantan people know who Ibrahim Ali is; the independent MP for Pasir Mas.
PERKASA was started by Ibrahim Ali in reaction to political rhetoric about equality and meritocracy following the 2008 general election. He earlier contested under PAS ticket but declared himself as independent, much to the anger of every PR supporters who was earlier thrown out of UMNO thus he was isolated and on his own. The idea to form PERKASA was not really to fight for the Malays but to make himself visible and stay relevant, if not he would be on the road to oblivion.
PERKASA membership mostly consists of UMNO members as he told in an interview with one online media; Asked who Perkasa’s members are, he says the majority are ordinary UMNO members. There are also “a few who are MPs and a few supreme council members” whose names he can’t remember. Quite a number are retired top military personnel. Sizeable, too, are civil servants from the technical and clerical group. A handful is PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat members, he says.
He further said, “I’m personally surprised at the support, and I didn’t set any membership targets. It is beyond my expectations,” he says. Yes he was surprised because he had expected more, in fact he hoped that all the Malays will support PERKASA but he just managed a handful and most of them are in a very awkward situation since they are also supporters or members of political parties, whereby could somehow affect their own parties and jeopardize their positions in the party.
Dr. Mahathir wrote in his blog; “Whatever may be the feelings of UMNO, I have decided that the NGOs have a big enough following which could do damage to UMNO and the BN in the next election if they want to. Accordingly I have decided to stay close with Perkasa especially and to ensure that it does not swing over to the opposition. I would like to ensure that Perkasa supports the Barisan Nasional in the next election”. However the support from Mahathir, the ex-IGP Rahim Noor and one silat master have done nothing much to convince the Malays that PERKASA is good for them. Many still shy away from PERKASA.
Why is this so?
The Malays have already got UMNO, PAS and PKR to serve their interest. Furthermore besides BN they also have PR as an alternative; in short the Malays have enough choices. NGOs are different from political parties. NGO like PERKASA can only bark and shout. Moreover PERKASA has been seen as too Malay Nationalistic and racist which are not the cultural values of the Malays.
Even before independence, the Malays had willingly accommodated the Chinese and Indian immigrants. (You can read this in Interlok, besides the “word”, Interlok is a good history novel). The Malays had allowed these immigrants to even squat on their lands, built their homes, planted crops and even reared chickens and duck. The Malays are kind hearted and mild mannered in nature. Thus the approach and the stance shown by PERKASA would not have the desired effect simply because its way is alien to the Malays.
People may say the Malays are not really that mild mannered by nature because it had been proven that during the demonstration held against the formation of the Malayan Union many Malays joined on the streets. Yes indeed, but they were not there to demonstrate but were told that those who attended would be given money; yes money was what it was all about as they were very poor.
Similar is the case today. The majority of the Malays are still poor. So even if after 54 years in power and struggling for the Malays, UMNO has not been able to improve the Malays, what can PERKASA do? The Malays are not interested in rhetoric, slogans, threats and shouting as both UMNO and PERKASA have done. The Malays want answers and results. They may be poor but they are not backwards. The Malays are fed up with UMNO, and PERKASA just make them more fed up as none whatsoever that have been planned, implemented and never ending struggles have bear real fruits.
PERKASA could be of more help if it questions everything that UMNO have done for the Malays and also ask why only a few Malays, UMNO ministers are and UMNOputeras are rich and extravagant. Get all the prognosis and scrutinize for improvement.
Yet PERKASA just keep on blaming others for the predicament faced by the Malays, from asking the Chinese and Indians to return back from where their ancestors came from, revoking the citizenship of some people, antagonizing the other races and their religion and the latest spat between Ibrahim Ali and Rev Dr. Eu Hong Seng. PERKASA and Ibrahim Ali in particular have given bad names to the Malays each time he opened his mouth!
When will Ibrahim Ali wake up from his nightmare? Have not Ibrahim Ali realised that as what had occurred in his failed attempt to garner the Malay support by organizing the anti-BERSIH march because even PERKASA members failed to materialise as he had hoped; PERKASA is not only irrelevant to the Malays, Ibrahim Ali is a pain in the arse!