The most vocal Malay NGO, Perkasa, seems to be in a crossroad – to continue playing its role as defender of the Malay and bumiputra rights or fight against the so-called neo-liberalism in Umno.
Perkasa has held the ‘Malay and bumiputra fort” when Umno was reeling from its dismal performance after the 2008 general election but now, after the May 5 2013 general election, Umno stands upright with its tyransformation and Malay agenda.
So when Perkasa meets for its fourth AGM this Sunday, the question that hangs on its members’ heads and of course, its leader Datuk Ibrahim Ali is which direction the movement will take.
Given that Umno is back on its feet and upon conclusion of its annual general assembly last week, the party which is the backbone of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has taken the path that Perkasa had rode on – uplifting and empowering the Malays and bumiputras economic status as well as protecting the sanctity of Islam.
Perkasa is now at a crossroad on how to chart its next course because championing the cause it has been taking since its formation in late 2008 will be seen as ‘taking the role of Umno’.
No doubt Perkasa had taken the role of Umno since its formation as Umno was ‘rehabilitating’ itself past few years but now that Umno has been ‘rehabilitated’ and the party has now taken its role back and further playing the role of MCA and Gerakan and even MIC in protecting and champion the cause of Malaysians, not just Malays, Perkasa now has to look for a reason.
Championing the cause in accordance to the country’s Federal Constitution in protecting the rights of Malays, Bumiputras and Islam as well as the Institution of Rulers, may take a new approach.
With Umno playing the role of moderates and inclusiveness, Perkasa has to look to new approaches if it wants to stay relevant and rally the same support it has been enjoying.
Its racial stand may still be relevant but the approaches needed to be more refined given Umno’s new approaches in reaching out as a platform of fairness and harmony.
Since it will not go against Umno as it is an NGO that supports the government, Perkasa may actually be in a dilemma.
One Perkasa member said the NGO would still be relevant and needed given the many issues raised by the oppositions that Umno shied away, particularly sensitive issues regarding liberalism.
He said Umno would not say much about liberal Malays who were in Umno and everywhere because Umno itself is heading towards liberalism.
“It is Perkasa that will be fighting against this liberal Malays who are against Malays who struggle for the race and religion,” he said.
With the AGM to be launched by former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Perkasa seems set to champion a new cause – fight against neo-liberalism who the movement feels are obstacles to the Malays future development economically and spiritually.