Ku Li: Perkasa fills Umno Youth ‘vacuum’

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has charged that Perkasa’s rising popularity among Malays was due to the failure of the Umno Youth leadership to champion the cause of the race.

Tengku Razaleigh also said that current Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s ostensibly staunch support for party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak was just a ploy to get a Cabinet position.

“There is a vacuum in Umno Youth, when it should be the spokesman for the Malays. But the present Umno Youth leadership does not articulate the Malay plight.”

Khairy’s support for Najib was superficial, Ku Li said.

“This is splitting the strength of Umno,” Tengku Razaleigh told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview here yesterday.

The Kelantan prince popularly known as Ku Li claimed that Umno Youth had lost its tenacity and vigour in championing the community, with the leaders engrossed in eyeing positions for themselves.

“This sounds very pathetic, they say he (Khairy) wants to become minister, so that’s why he has to support the prime minister, at least that’s what people say.”

“The fact remains that Umno Youth used to question a lot of issues concerning the plight of Malays. That has always been the role of Umno Youth,” said Tengku Razaleigh.

The Gua Musang MP noted that the current mood in the party made it ripe for Perkasa to recruit more disgruntled Umno members.

“According to (Datuk) Ibrahim Ali, there are 200,000 members. Out of these numbers, 80 per cent are Umno members,” claimed the former Umno vice-president.

Outspoken Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali started Perkasa as a one-man pressure group for Malay rights. It now has branches and divisions in every state in Malaysia.

“It is a question of leadership. (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad), a determined leader is giving support to Perkasa while the leadership of Umno is in utter neglect,” the Kelantan prince said of his former rival.

Tengku Razaleigh also claimed that Umno branch meetings were not attended by their Youth and Puteri wings, to the point where meetings could not make quorum.