BN leaders criticised for joining Perkasa demo

A Gerakan politician says that by joining the demonstration, the BN leaders are acknowledging that Perkasa is a force to be reckoned with.

Athi Shankar, FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Barisan Nasional leaders are lending credibility to Perkasa by joining a demonstration in Esplanade organised by the Malay supremacist group yesterday.

Baljit Singh, who heads the state Gerakan legal and human rights bureau, said participation of BN leaders would give a wrong perception that the coalition was collaborating with Perkasa.

Among those present were state BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow, state Umno’s deputy chairman Musa Sheikh Fadzir and secretary Azhar Ibrahim, state MIC deputy chief L Krishnan and Teluk Bahang assemblyman Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

Baljit said BN leaders should have realised that they cannot be seen standing side-by-side with leaders and members of an organisation that espoused racial supremacy.

He said Perkasa’s Malay agenda contradicted BN concept of 1Malaysia, recalling that BN leadership had on countless occasions denied links with the Ibrahim Ali-led NGO.

Moreover, he told FMT that Perkasa was despised by non Malays.

“Public perception is important in politics. By joining a protest that included Perkasa, BN leaders are lending support to the group.

“BN may just lose more non-Malay votes,” warned Baljit, who boycotted the event as a protest against Perkasa participation.

Themed “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu Pulau Pinang”, thousands of NGO members gathered at the Speaker’s Square as early as 3pm yesterday to demonstrate against the Pakatan Rakyat government.

Earlier the crowd walked for nearly two kilometres from Masjid Kapitan Keling to the Esplanade, carrying banners and chanting slogans against the state government and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Arguably the biggest demonstration held by NGOs to date against Lim’s five-year leadership, the protest included a long convoy of youths on bikes waving BN and NGO flags.

Penang Perkasa chairman Yusoff Suhaimi, who was in thick of action, claimed that some 120 NGOs jointly organised the rally.

“The NGOs attending the demonstration are under the Sekretariat Penyatuan Rakyat Pulau Pinang umbrella, which was called by me under the Penang Special Affairs Department (Jasa) secretariat,’ he said yesterday.