Who are Perkasa?

Written by Dr Lim Teck Ghee, CPI 

Dr Farish Noor’s assessment of Perkasa as “a class issue… reflecting the anxieties of poor Malays who are scared of the globalization process” is not only off the mark but also plainly incorrect.

There is presently little or no data on Perkasa’s membership or ideology to support his assertion. For example, we do not know how large its membership is, the demographic and socio-economic profile of members, the reasons for participation in the group’s activities, the number of poor, middle or upper class Malays that are members, the attitudes of these members and other supporters towards the globalization process, etc.

What are known are its origins, leadership, ideological position and the objectives and causes it stands for. The facts known about it are clear and unambiguous evidence of what the organization stands for and aims to achieve. They are a far cry from the class-based, nebulous and even heroic concerns that Farish draws attention to in his assessment.

Perkasa is an organization registered with the Registrar of Societies on Sept 12, 2008. It traces its origins to the aftermath of the momentous March 8 general elections with the early discussion on forming the organization publicly announced in June 2008.

Its objectives clearly prioritize the defence of “Malay special rights” (rather than the “special position” of the Malays) as well as the position of Islam, Bahasa Melayu and Malay rulers.

There is nothing in its objectives (or its subsequent activities) to make it out as being concerned with or wanting to take up the plight of poor Malays. Instead its positions are based on the anxieties of “Ketuanan Melayu” and “Ketuanan Islam”.