Not so Perkasa

Is Perkasa objectively justified in championing (their) issues?

By Nizam Bashir

Perkasa is an interesting NGO. Their raison d’être appears to be predicated on the following:

  • the right of Bumiputeras to own 67 per cent the nation’s economic wealth because they form the majority;
  • the ISA as being integral to 1 Malaysia;
  • the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims.

We must salute Perkasa for having the gumption to be pig-headed (or katak puru-headed if you wish) on issues such as the above.

They are certainly being made at a time when the climate appears cold to their views, with the government talking of the New Economic Model, the ISA possibly being amended and the High Court allowing the Herald to use the word Allah in their publications. Still, climate change doesn’t determine the answer to the RM64,000 question — is Perkasa objectively justified in championing those issues? Let’s deal with each of their stand in turn.

Perkasa’s national economic policy proposal makes for fascinating reading. In effect, they are suggesting that a community is entitled to the national economic pie purely on the basis of their numbers within the nation and without any qualifications.

The problem is that their proposal seems irreconcilable with what the Reid Commission had to say on the issue and wherein they noted that:

“… We found that there are now four matters with regard to which the special position of the Malays is recognised and safeguarded:

1. … Malay reservations of land …

2. … admission to the public services …

3. … permits or licenses for the operation of certain businesses …

4. … scholarships, bursaries and other forms of aid for educational purposes …”

“We found little opposition in any quarter to the continuance of the present system for a time, but there was great opposition in some quarters to any increase of the present preferences and to their being continued for any prolonged period.”

and then recommended that:

“… with the integration of the various communities into a common nationality which we trust will gradually come about, the need for these preferences will gradually disappear. Our recommendations are made on the footing that the Malays should be assured that the present position will continue for a substantial period, but that in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease so that there should then be no discrimination between races and communities.

“We recommend that after 15 years there should be a review of the whole matter …”

In other words, the special position could exist but in a qualified way depending on the subject matter — such as land, education, etc. — and always for a finite term.

Notice what’s missing? Population as a basis to extend or enhance special position is nowhere to be found. So much for that.

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