KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Perkasa issued another warning to Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today, saying that Umno would be the biggest losers if he continued attacking the Malay rights group.
Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said today that the Umno man’s criticism would only serve to strengthen Perkasa’s influence.
He argued that Perkasa’s objective was to unite the Malays, and “rejecting” leaders who were splitting the race even if they were Malays themselves.
Syed Hassan dismissed Nazri’s remarks against the Malay-rights group, and likened those a child’s rants.
“I would advise Nazri to stop attacking Perkasa. Perkasa does not lose anything with Nazri’s attacks; in fact because of his attacks we are becoming stronger among the Malays.
“Perhaps Nazri too has nothing to lose. But the real loser is Umno if there are leaders within the party who are jealous of us and continue to belittle us like Nazri,” said the Perkasa secretary-general in a statement today.
Syed Hassan reiterated Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s claims that although the Malay NGO was not a political party, it had enough clout to affect a politician’s standing with the Malay grassroots.
“Perkasa will not become a political party, that is for sure. But Perkasa can influence the position of a political leader. This is Perkasa’s warning. Nazri does not need to pressure Perkasa into becoming a political party. We know what we are doing. We want to unite the Malays,” said Syed Hassan.
Nazri yesterday challenged Ibrahim to reveal whatever secrets the Perkasa chief may have against him, in response to the latter’s warning to three Umno leaders to stop criticising Perkasa.
Ibrahim had singled out Nazri, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin over the weekend in his admonition to politicians to stop lashing out at the Malay rights group or risk having their “secrets” revealed.
Nazri said that Ibrahim’s threats did not frighten him, but rather it had strengthened his resolve in
opposing Perkasa’s brand of “racism.”
“I want Ibrahim Ali to reveal whatever secrets he may have against me. In fact, I dare him to. He better start revealing [these] soon, because I will continue to attack Perkasa and I will continue to fight him,” Nazri told The Malaysian Insider.
The minister in the prime minister’s department has been vocal in condemning Perkasa for what he deemed an erosion of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) support from the non-Malay electorate.
On Saturday, Ibrahim alleged at a Perkasa rally in his Pasir Mas parliamentary constituency that the three Umno leaders’ views of Perkasa differed from that of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s views.
Nazri had, however, scoffed at Ibrahim’s latest remarks, dismissing it as the “rants of the Perkasa chief”, claiming that Perkasa did not understand the meaning of 1 Malaysia, something which did not sit well with Syed Hassan.
“Do not accuse us of not understanding the meaning of 1 Malaysia. We understand it as how it was announced by the prime minister in Parliament before this. But there are also others who have a different understanding of 1 Malaysia than us.
“If 1 Malaysia is being understood on different levels, then it is a problem. Nazri himself does not understand what 1 Malaysia is. Do not say that it is a policy or concept. 1 Malaysia is only a slogan, not a policy.
“We support whatever the prime minister is doing to unite all the races in this multiracial country. We welcome all efforts to bring about stability and it is this stability along with the nation’s sovereignty which we have also promised to uphold in Perkasa’s constitution,” Syed Hassan.
Nazri, along with Khairy and Tengku Adnan have all been reported as having spoken out against the Malay rights group.
Khairy had raised concerns that BN would lose non-Malay support if it does not immediately disassociate itself from Perkasa.
The Umno Youth chief said there was a perception now to affiliate Umno with Perkasa, and that this was “hurting” BN’s bid to gain non-Malay votes, which severely dwindled in the last general election.
Similarly, Nazri had declared that the Umno did not support or recognise the Malay rights group, saying Umno was against any form of racism and that Perkasa’s ideals did not fit in the Najib administration’s focus on plurality and unity.
Earlier this month, Tengku Adnan also recently said his BN counterparts had agreed that distancing the ruling coalition from Perkasa was the best way forward to halt the slide in non-Malay support for BN.
He added that Umno would not back the strident Malay rights group or Ibrahim in the next general election.
Tengku Adnan, however, subsequently denied stating that BN was distancing itself from Perkasa after Najib said that Umno did not want to stir conflict with any non-governmental organisation despite the recent move by Umno leaders to rebuff the Malay rights group.
The Mahathir-backed Perkasa is still seen by many as commanding significant support from within Umno as well as the Malay grassroots.