Kadir’s Ikatan says race, religion misused to ‘tear’ Malaysia apart
KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Newly-formed political party Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan) will focus on uniting Malaysians who have become more polarised since the 2008 general election, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir has said.
Claiming that Malaysians have since been “torn” apart by race and religious issues, the former Umno minister said a movement was needed to push for a united “Bangsa Malaysia”, and presented his party Ikatan as the solution.
“We have been sidetracked by small things. The issue of religion, race, has been played carelessly, it can tear our country apart if we do not stop the decline.
“Our focus is on unity, to make ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ a success... we are continuing efforts made by past Umno leaders,” he said at Ikatan’s official launch here.
The Ikatan protem president said his party will carry on the efforts made by Malaysia’s first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, in pushing for a Malaysia which is “fair, progressive and in line with the federal constitution.”
“It is time that we became Malaysians first and everything else second. It is time for us to be able to call ourselves Malaysians without having to worry about what backgrounds we come from.
“If we want to preserve our beautiful country for our future generations, we can no longer wait and hope that everything will be restored by the government of the day,” he added.
But Abdul Kadir did not explain how his party’s aims are different from Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) or Barisan Nasional’s (BN).
Ikatan’s mission statement states that it will support a government administration that is transparent, accountable and corruption-free.
Ikatan’s line-up of leaders includes a mix of new and familiar faces. Its three deputy presidents are former Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan, Ong Hock Siew and former Deputy Education Minister Datuk Seri Bujang Ulis.
Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia co-operative portfolio chairman Datuk Seri Mustafa Kamal Maulut will act as the party’s secretary-general.
Abdul Kadir’s new party could very well bolster opposition towards BN in the next general election as the former Umno man has been openly critical of his one-time party, even accusing Umno of vote-buying.
He claimed back in January that Umno handed out cash in previous election campaigns in attempts to buy votes, a tactic known as “bomb”, and that he had himself seen how cash handouts ranging from RM200 to RM1,000 were used in BN’s campaigns to gain voter support.
The former tourism minister has previously said he has not ruled out joining PR and has been spotted attending and giving speeches at opposition rallies.
He also took part in the April 28 Bersih rally in the capital city alongside PR leaders such as the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Abdul Kadir quit Umno early this year to focus on carrying the “original fight” of the party’s founding fathers for equality and democracy through Angkatan Amanah Rakyat (Amanah).