Zaid: Malays need Perkasa 2.0 to lead the way

(MM) – Successful Malays and politicians should work together to guide the Malay community with positive messages and act as a peaceful alternative to Malay rights group Perkasa, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim suggested today.

The Malays need to be shown a fresh approach on how to achieve success without being divisive, the former Umno minister said, adding that the community should be well-equipped to make full use of opportunities in the country.

“The government and successful Malays need to counter Perkasa’s agenda by offering differing methods and solutions that are more relevant and useful—and far less harmful—than what Perkasa offers,” Zaid wrote in his blog today titled “Why we need Perkasa 2.0”.

Zaid noted that Perkasa’s approach to tackling the Malay community’s problems by playing the “blame game” was not helpful in propelling Malays to move forward.

“Perkasa may be concerned about the welfare of the Malays but its leaders offer little by way of practical solutions. Meanwhile, the blame game they have adopted will not stop the Malays who are backwards from moving forward.

“Perkasa’s aggressive negativity will have a lasting effect not just on the Malays but on the delicate balance of inter-communal relations as a whole, unless it is replaced with new thinking and ideas that are positive and fulfilling. This is what is needed urgently,’ he wrote.

In the same blog post, Zaid said the fact that Perkasa had managed to attract members showed that young Malays have “genuine concerns and legitimate grievances”, but he said the Malays need guidance and need to know that peaceful solutions exist.

He listed down the problems faced by the Malay community, such as dissatisfaction with working conditions, insufficient wages, lack of role models and lack of skills to move up in their careers.

But if successful Malays can help the “young Malays” view things differently, the latter may not be attracted to join Perkasa, Zaid said.

“They need to get organised, perhaps work with other groups, to take their message of positive change to the ground. Their personal stories on how they each achieved success—the problems they encountered and how they overcame them—can be inspiring, and can give new insight to young Malays who hope to venture into similar fields.

“Instead of hurling abuse and spreading fear in the community, this approach will show younger Malays how they can have a successful life by being positive and proactive,” he said.

“Perkasa’s many followers can be made to see that the path to success does not have to be divisive and that there are many options available. At the very least, the process of reaching out to the Malays can help them overcome the anger and fear they are experiencing,” he added.

But Zaid concluded that the political leaders must themselves believe the new message, warning that “their credibility” will otherwise “be questioned and Perkasa 2.0 will gain no traction”.

In Malaysia, many in the Malay community remain among the country’s poorest, with critics saying that decades of affirmative action programmes aimed at improving their economic lot had only benefited a small group.

Perkasa, which was formed a few years ago, has said it has hundreds of thousands of members, but critics have dismissed the right-wing group as not representing the views of the majority.