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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ibrahim Ali embarrases himself: End of the road seen for Perkasa




T
he writing is on the wall for Perkasa, founded two years ago by political chameleon Ibrahim Ali. Chances are it won't last another two years.
An object of ridicule to the non-Malays and unable to influence his own community, Malaysia's most famous rabble-rouser is looking at fast-shrinking membership in the ultra Malay rights movement that took shape after a series of church torchings in 2010. And whether he officially closes shop or not, Perkasa looks doomed to irrelevance, hit by Ibrahim's own lack of ideas, dynamism and vision for his cause.

Nevertheless in true Ibrahim Ali fashion, the portly Pasir Mas MP blamed everyone including the Malays for his latest fiasco. At the second Perkasa annual meeting held on Deepavali day, Ibrahim took the Malays to task for not rising to the occasion to fight off 'Christianization' of the country.
“Even as late at 4pm, there were fewer than 10,000 people. I was embarrassed as a Malay and a Muslim. Where are our Malays?" Ibrahim had said in his winding-up speech.
No weapons except racism and religious bigotry
But as pundits pointed out, Ibrahim failed to examine if he was part of the blame for the poor turnout at the Himpun rally, which reeked of racial politics.
With the support of former premier Mahathir Mohamad giving it an aura of respectability, Perkasa began life with a bang due to its novelty and backing from the Umno right-wing. But its over-dependence on demonizing other races and religions was its undoing.
Two years have nearly passed and Perkasa has yet to measure up to its talk of fighting for the betterment of the Malay race. In large part, this is due to Ibrahim's political subservience to Umno and therefore his inability to demand from the Umno-led government the major policy revamps needed to improve the lot of the ordinary Malays, who despite decades of special economic policies remain among the poorest in the country.
"Yes, Ibrahim Ali should feel embarrassed but at himself for having chased the Malays away. This shows the community's total rejection of him and it is also a real warning to Umno that it can no longer rely on old tricks to fool the Malays," PAS MP for Bukit Gantang Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.
Touted by its organizers to be a Gathering of One Million Muslims, less than 5,000 turned up at the Shah Alam stadium last week, smelling a rat by the politicos in the party to take advantage of their religious piety.
Ibrahim Ali had been one of the initial promoters but when the rally organizers sniffed out what a repellant he and other political figures such as Umno Senator Ezam Mohd Noor and Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin were, they were immediately yanked out from the official list.
But by then it was too late. Himpun was regarded as a political event and when PAS later revealed that Umno had tried to use the rally as a platform to reignite merger or unity talks, Malays felt vindicated and further put off by the underhandedness surrounding the whole episode.
Malay 'hero' or 'destroyer' of the Malays
During the Perkasa meeting a day ago, Ibrahim also complained that the Malays only knew how to ask for "things" but did little to fight for their rights. If Malays remained too passive, they would get bullied and suffer the same fate as Malays in Singapore and Penang, where they had to kow-tow to the Chinese.
"But when there’s a conference or an assembly, why this, why that? What is our sacrifice? How far are we willing to go?” asked Ibrahim, who has often insisted that he was politically neutral.
Yet Malay disillusionment with the Perkasa brand of race-championing is its glaring lack of results and that it always comes at the expense of the other races and faiths. Many Malays feel embarrassed at the boorish racism that Ibrahim and his cohorts habitually display without any qualms in their dogged belief that this was what constituted a Malay hero.
The Malays' wish to distance themselves began to spread after Ibrahim failed to turn up at the July 9 Bersih rally for free and fair elections, which he had vowed to disrupt because it was 'against' Malay rights. To many Malaysians, the role played by ibrahim in the run up to the Bersih rally had proven beyond a doubt that Perkasa was little more than a vehicle or a tool for Umno to use against anyone or group it wished to destroy.
"Ibrahim Ali has done more than anyone else to help Mahathir stereotype Malays as being weak, reliant and dependent on government handouts and if they don't get their way, they are ever-ready to use violence against the non-Malays. This is the image that Ibrahim and Mahathir have given to the non-Malays and this is the picture that the outside world now holds of the Malays in Malaysia," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.



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