That forbidden fruit called Ibrahim Ali

By Stephanie Sta Maria, Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Biblically, the term “Adam’s Apple” is derived from Adam having eaten the forbidden fruit. But now Ibrahim Ali has given this a political twist.

The Perkasa boss has likened himself to the protusion in the throat, but that of politicians. He is something which they cannot swallow or spit out.

In an exclusive interview with FMT, the vocal politician denies dancing to Umno’s tune and talks about his love-hate relationship with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also touches on how Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s ears turn red hot when given a Perkasa lashing.

The right-wing Malay movement has become a household name within a short span of time after courting a string of controversies.

Some have described it as an Umno tool while there are those who claim that the movement serves as a mouthpiece for Mahathir.

But Ibrahim finds such tags purely offensive.

He insists that Perkasa is a non-partisan organisation, dedicated to protecting the Federal Constitution and the special privileges accorded to the Bumiputera.

The independent Pasir Mas MP also pointed out that Perkasa has criticised the government and its policies, incurring the wrath of Umno leaders.

At one point, he said, Perkasa was even considered “unfriendly” by those in Umno.

“When we criticise the opposition or other NGOs, we are branded as an Umno tool. But when we criticise the government, no one recognises us as being independent,” he lamented.

Ibrahim also scoffed at the perception by certain quarters that a good and independent NGO is one that acts as a permanent thorn in the government’s side.

“That is a wrong perception. An independent NGO is one that is friendly to all parties, critical of policies and outspoken on issues with which it disagrees.

“But as far as the government is concerned, we still need to engage it so that we can put across our demands and opinions,” he said.

However, he reiterated that such a stand does not make Perkasa beholden to Umno.

“Look, even (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Nazri Abdul Aziz and (Umno Youth chief) Khairy Jamaluddin have openly said that Umno doesn’t support Perkasa.

“We take these statements positively because it underscores the fact that we are not being used by anyone,” he said.

‘I am not Dr M’s mouthpiece’

While Umno constantly attempts to steer clear of Perkasa, Mahathir, however, has not done the same.