Malaysia

Growing Chinese clout may cause new May 13, says Ibrahim Ali

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

December 14, 2012

Ibrahim said the Chinese needed to be reminded how living in Malaysia is “like heaven”. — File picIbrahim said the Chinese needed to be reminded how living in Malaysia is “like heaven”. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 ― The Chinese community will become a national security threat if it grows more powerful politically and economically, Datuk Ibrahim Ali has said, even warning that this could result in another bloody racial clash like the May 13 tragedy.

The Perkasa chief said in a Sinar Harian interview today that the Chinese have been playing up political sentiments of late and accused the country’s second-largest ethnic group of having forgotten how living in Malaysia is “like heaven”.

“What if there is chaos? Like during the May 13 incident, they could not proceed with their trade.

“We, too, do not want that to happen,” the outspoken Pasir Mas federal lawmaker was quoted as saying in the article.

“Today, the Chinese are okay...but it’s not enough... they want more. Now, they control 40 per cent of the country’s economy, and now, they want political power as well,” Ibrahim continued.

“But what will happen in 25 years from now? Today is okay, but tomorrow, when their power spreads, then it will threaten national security and the May 13 incident will return,” he warned.

Ibrahim, or “Tok Him” as he is often called, has positioned himself as the firebrand for the Malay agenda and the face of Perkasa, the Malay right-wing group he founded just after the 12th general election in 2008.

But his fiery rhetoric and often racially-charged remarks have regularly put him on a collision course with non-Muslim politicians across the political divide, despite claims from the opposition that he has the backing of the ruling Umno.

Despite this, Ibrahim insisted in the Sinar Harian interview that none of what he has done or said in the past should qualify him for the “racist” label, even boasting that not a single police report has been lodged against him for being “racist” throughout his tenure at the head of the four-year-old Perkasa.

He added that he has never, in Perkasa’s history, issued statements asking the government to stop helping the Indian or Chinese communities.

Ibrahim explained that Perkasa’s founding struggle is to defend and uphold the “social contract” as guaranteed in the Federal Constitution, including the special privileges of the Bumiputeras, Islam as the religion of the federation, the position for the Malay Rulers and Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of the country.

He added that this also includes the rights of an individual to citizenship and said the group would oppose to those who dared to question this provision.

“Like now, many Indians are squabbling over their rights to become citizens... we are not opposed to it... if we were truly racists, we would have objected.

“The only thing is that we merely want to remind the government to do the right thing... only permit those who qualify for such a right to be awarded citizenships,” he told the Malay language daily.

“Where does it say here that Perkasa or I are racists?” he asked.

The Independent lawmaker, whose political career has seen him through terms in Umno and PAS both, said he was proud of Perkasa’s achievements and struggle over the past years.

“We are not racists or Islamic extremists, if we speak of Islamic extremists, PAS is more extremist than Perkasa.”

To further prove his point, Ibrahim pointed out that Perkasa has never sought the closure of businesses deemed as “haram” in Islam, such as trades involving the sale of alcohol, lottery or gambling, entertainment outlets like karaokes, massage parlours or spas.

“All these businesses are owned by the non-Bumiputeras, especially the Chinese; has Perkasa objected or asked to shut them down?” he asked.

Perkasa started out as a one-man movement in the aftermath of Election 2008 but has since grown into a vocal pressure group on matters related to the Malay community and what the group describes as “Malay special rights”.

The group has been a strident defender of the Bumiputera affirmative action policies and even declared that the Chinese people will use the next general election as an opportunity to take over the country.

It is a non-governmental organisation but counts many Umno members in its ranks. Today, the NGO’s membership numbers some 300,000 nationwide.