Perkasa rushes in where Umno fears to tread

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Perkasa, the Malay nationalist movement which began as a one man band after Election 2008, is shaping up as a national pressure group to Umno, representing those seeking to defend the constitutional position of the Malays and the social contract.

For the past two months, the Perkasa national leadership, led by veteran politician Datuk Ibrahim Ali, has been going on road shows to officiate state level launches and to organise massive recruitment drives.

On Jan 30 former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who once made Ibrahim a deputy minister, is expected to launch the Selangor Perkasa. His presence will be seen as a coup for the right-wing organisation.

In every state, Ibrahim who is the sole independent Member of Parliament has been able to attract local Umno leaders to attend gatherings and express support for his struggle.

It has also successfully recruited Umno grassroots activists who have failed to climb up the party hierarchy.

Perkasa, which has been at the forefront in fighting for the exclusive use of the term “Allah for Muslims, has also set up its Sarawak chapter, the only state in Malaysia without Umno’s presence.

The group has also been lodging police reports against politicians who stand in their way such as the PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who supported the Roman Catholic Church’s right to use the term “Allah”.

“What Perkasa stands for today, was what Umno used to fight for when it was formed,” said a source close to the Perkasa leadership.

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