The New Voice of Malaysian NGOs

I looked up the word ‘PERKASA’ in my dictionary and obeyed its instructions – ‘adj see gagah’.  The word gagah is an adjective meaning : gallant, brave, chivalrous, manly, strong.  Why did I want to find the meaning of the word ‘PERKASA’?  It was because I had just read INSIGHT by Joceline Tan in Sunday Star 14th February 2010, where she describes the important features of the society Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia, which was registered on September 12th 2008 under the leadership of Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

Joceline Tan writes:

The Pasir Mas MP is probably one of the few politicians around who can still go on loud and clear even if the sound system broke down in the middle of his speech.

Ibrahim has been controversial from as far as anyone can remember.

But he has just embarked on his most controversial role yet as the leader of Perkasa or Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia.

Last week, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched Perkasa’s Selangor chapter where he stood on stage holding a keris in a rather half-hearted manner.

But perhaps the clearest hint that Perkasa is not another loony fringe group is that the Sultan of Selangor has agreed to officiate at its inaugural assembly next month.

Perkasa is ostensibly an NGO set up to articulate and defend Malay interests.

To date, the group has taken a strong stand against the High Court ruling on the Catholic Herald’s use of the term “Allah”. Ibrahim has even written a four-page letter on it to the Vatican.

It participated in the recent Malay protest in George Town against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during which Ibrahim made a hard-hitting speech. It was the only group to defend Datuk Nasir Safar over the latter’s allegedly racist remarks.

But Ibrahim and his group have been labelled as ultra Malay, extreme right wing, hardline and even racist.

He has been criticised by quarters who think that such a group is taking the country backwards rather than forwards. The Internet chatter has vilified and thrashed him.

Ibrahim has been called many names over the years but he balks at being labelled a racist.

“I am not a racist. We are only asking what is due to the Malays under Article 153 of the Constitution. We are not saying, don’t give this or that to the non-Bumiputra. Nowhere in my speeches do I say take this from the Chinese, don’t give that to the Indians. I want to unite Malays in defending Article 153.

On 28th February 2010, the Press informed us ‘Seventy-six Malay non-governmental organisations have joined forces to form a consultative council called the Majlis Perundingan NGO Melayu to defend Malays’ rights and Islam’

On Friday, 5th March 2010, it was reported that the president of the Malay Rights Group (PERKASA), Datuk Ibrahim Ali had thanked the Home Ministry for giving a publication permit to print Suara Perkasa fortnightly.  He hoped that it would eventually grow to a weekly and then a daily issue.

With one voice, this group is giving us a message which is both loud and clear – RACE, RELIGION, RINGGIT (in alphabetical order!).  WHAT INFLUENCE WILL THIS NEW VOICE HAVE ON THE FUTURE OF OUR NATION.

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