Perkasa swears loyalty to BN

The pro-Malay NGO recites an oath to vote for all Barisan Nasional candidates, despite insisting it is non-partisan.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Some 5000 members of pro-Malay non-governmental organisation (NGO) Pribumi Perkasa Negara (Perkasa) today stood in unison to recite a bai’ah (binding Islamic oath), swearing their allegiance towards ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) for the coming election.

They were lead by Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali, who insisted in his fiery speech that members of the NGO must lend support to BN as only Umno, the party which spearheads the coalition, could be relied upon to champion the Malays.

“We are free and we do not side with any party… But lately we have no choice.

“There are quarters that make all sorts of promises, including the Orange Book,…and we know this is Pakatan Rakyat,” he shouted to the large crowd gathered at the Perkasa annual gathering here.

“They are not concerned with Malay rights, and just take a look at their leader, my old friend,” he added, before launching into a stinging tirade against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“Thus, we must use our voting power to ensure that Barisan Nasional obtains two thirds majority,” he said to loud cheers and applause from the audience.

But when Ibrahim mentioned that this would mean voting even for MIC and MCA candidates, the Malay crowd’s reception was notably lukewarm.

MCA has long been vocal in its objection against Islamic criminal Hudud and the emergence of Malaysia as an Islamic state — both issues championed by Islamist opposition party PAS.

But in its attempts to shoot down both PAS and the latter’s ally, DAP, MCA has estranged Malay voters across the political divide as Islam remains a sensitive issue among Malays.

Today, in a bid to maintain support for Umno, which relies on MCA and MIC to maintain control of the government, Ibrahim attempted to pacify the crowd by insisting that MCA’s comments were directed at DAP.

“Do not be offended (by MCA), because I am even more offended when MCA leaders take all sorts of action,” admitted Ibrahim.

“[But] I know they are making those statements in response to the chauvinistic statements made by DAP. I know that we are also offended.

“Enough! If MCA and MIC win, it will help create a strong government. Why? Because Umno will continue to lead and manage a Barisan Nasional government!” he reminded the crowd.

But he maintained that he was non-partisan, even adding that he didn’t receive a single cent from the ruling party for lending his support.

“I am doing this for our religion, race and nation,” he declared.

“My anger, fury towards Umno cannot overcome the importance of our religion, race and nation.”