Perkasa calls Irene Fernandez a traitor after study says Constitution promotes discrimination

Ida Lim, The Malaysian Insider

Perkasa Youth today urged prominent activist Irene Fernandez to return her citizenship, claiming that she is a “traitor” to the country, over her involvement in a study on discrimination that questioned constitutional provisions surrounding the position of Malays.

“If she cannot obey (akur) this country’s laws, please return the citizenship voluntarily, she can go any country that she likes, to any countries where she finds the laws suitable, so please return the citizenship, since she’s also not Malay,” Irwan Fahmi Ideris, the Perkasa youth chief, told reporters at the Dang Wangi police station today.

“So here we ask the authorities to investigate and take the necessary action against the traitor,” he said after lodging a police report against Fernandez over the study that was carried in The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Irwan also said they feared for Fernandez’s safety, saying that such statements would incur the wrath of ignorant villagers and fellow Malaysians.

“We ask that her safety be guaranteed,” he said, saying that he was “sympathetic” to her.

When asked if Perkasa Youth would seek an apology from Fernandez, he said that he thinks this matter “cannot be forgiven”, again insisting that she returns her citizenship.

“This is already overstepping the limits, when our religion, our kings are disputed. But we practise a system that is the same as Britain’s,” he added, pointing out that UK also has a monarch.

Perkasa is a Malay right-wing group that is known to champion Islam, the rights of Malays and the royal institution.

Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that a UK-based study on discrimination and equality in Malaysia showed that the country should repeal or amend two constitutional provisions protecting the special rights and land of the Malays to avoid discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.

The study was jointly conducted by international charity organisation Equal Rights Trust (ERT) and Malaysian rights group Tenaganita.

Fernandez is the executive director of Tenaganita.

The four-part study said the existence of Articles 89 and 153 of the Federal Constitution were among the strongest causes behind racial discrimination in Malaysia as both had purportedly failed to meet the original intention for positive action.

Instead, the provisions had “violated international law standards”, it was said in the executive summary of the “Washing the Tigers: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Malaysia” study published on the ERT’s website late Monday.