Najib flip-flops on rejecting Perkasa, says does not want conflict

Malaysia Chronicle

As expected, Prime Minister Najib Razak has already begun back-pedaling on recent statements from certain Umno leaders that the party would reject Perkasa, an ultra Malay rights NGO whose patron is former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

“No, we do not want to be in conflict with any NGO. It (Perkasa) is just like any other NGO. We have so many NGOs. There are times we can agree, and there are times we cannot agree. No, I do not want to refer specifically to anyone,” Najib was reported as saying on Friday.

But at a glittering event on Wednesday, the signs were already evident that he may have knocked out a deal or some form of preliminary truce with Mahathir. This would pre-empt the power tussle predicted by many pundits after several leaders aligned to Najib publicly distanced Umno from Perkasa, which has been stirring up unprecedented social discord with its racist rhetoric.

At the event, both men were all smiles and Najib pledged in his speech to achieve Mahathir’s Vision 2020, an ambitious economic plan that aims to turn Malaysia into a developed nation. And when his turn came to speak, Mahathir reciprocated, U-turning on his previously pro-Malay stance by calling for unity and acknowledging that Malaysia was for all Malaysians.

The real fools who rushed in

Najib’s latest statement is bound to disappoint those who had hoped to see his administration finally make headway in implementing sorely needed social and economic reforms. Many Malaysian had been hoping to hear him personally confirm that Umno would no longer support Perkasa.

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