PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has advised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak not to ignore Malay rights movement Perkasa as it has become a force to be reckoned with.
The former prime minister said Najib should listen to views expressed by Perkasa, which is a mouthpiece of the Malay community.
“Listen to their views, whether it is sane or insane. Failure to listen will result in lost votes as the Malays are his core constituents.
“The Government is listening to the grouses of other communities and it should also listen to the grouses of the Malays,’’ he said when opening Perkasa’s first AGM at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said the recent sprouting of Malay-based NGOs like Perkasa that expressed views on political issues affecting the community reflected erosion of confidence in Umno.
Sound advice: Dr Mahathir making his point clear during Perkasa’s inaugural assembly in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AP
“For 50 years we did not see the existence of such NGOs because Umno had always championed Malay issues,’’ he said, stressing that the New Economic Policy had never hindered development.
Dr Mahathir also revealed that certain quarters had advised him against attending the Perkasa event, claiming that it would tarnish his name and reputation. “Perkasa is not an extremist or a violent group; its objective is to defend and protect the rights of the Malays.”
Noting that Malaysia did not record significant growth over the last six years at a time when racial bickering took centre stage, Dr Mahathir said sensitive religious and racial issues should be discussed behind closed doors for the sake of stability.
He also chided detractors who made unfounded claims that Malays had grabbed everything from scholarships to government projects.
On Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin’s revelation in Parliament that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had conspired to topple Najib by linking him to the murder of Altantunya Shaaribuu, the former premier said he was not surprised. “Even when he was serving as my deputy, he conspired to topple me.
“He is nice in front of me, but behind my back, he was plotting my downfall with someone from Negri Sembilan,’’ he revealed.
Dr Mahathir said Anwar would cry conspiracy when he was caught in a position where he could not explain himself.
Earlier, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali took a swipe at DAP for propagating its Malaysian Malaysia agenda.
Without naming PAS, Ibrahim also hit out at “a certain Islamist party for selling out religion” for selfish gains.
He also chided Anwar for getting foreigners to condemn Malaysia over his sodomy trial.
Ibrahim expressed full support for Najib, stressing that Perkasa was not a political party and that it wished to see Umno return to its original struggle to defend the Malays.
Perkasa presented the inaugural Bintang Perkasa award to Dr Mahathir, whom it described as the nation’s greatest statesman.