I don’t always support Perkasa, says Dr M


(Malay Mail Online) – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said his support for Perkasa was conditional, and that he will not back the Malay rights group if it pursued “extremist” goals.

The former Umno president also said he is only supporting Perkasa because his party has failed to defend the Malays against Chinese extremists.

“Not always,” he said when asked to explain the contradiction in his claim to be a moderate and his purported support for Perkasa in a press conference here.

“When Perkasa is fighting against the extremist voices where Umno has failed, I will support it.

“But if it fought for any extremist ideas, I will not support it,” he said.

Earlier today, the former prime minister who professes to be a moderate, urged middle Malaysia to speak up against extremists, when speaking at a forum on “The Malaysian Dilemma”

He said if the moderates fail to do so, they would allow the country to be dominated by extremism.

To back his claim of moderation, he cited the support he received from the Chinese voters during the 1998 political crisis, when the Malay votes were split by his sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy.

“People have accused me of being a racist but remember in 1999, when the Malays were angry at me and my government, it was the Chinese that gave me the two-thirds I needed,” he told the forum.

The former prime minister maintained that he is a moderate, and that most of his views that were deemed racist were those targeted at Chinese chauvinists.

He had also defended some of Perkasa’s views, saying the group was only fighting for Malay rights in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

Despite these claims, his rivals regularly blame him and his policies for Malaysia’s communal friction.

He denied the allegation and claimed racial relations were much better then under his governance than it is today.