KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that anyone was free to form an association, including Chinese or Indian versions of the Malay rights group, Perkasa.
“We can have Chinese Perkasa and even Indian Perkasa,” he said today.
He said that it was an individual’s right to form an association and it was acceptable as long as it was formed with good intentions.
“The government does not stop anyone from forming a body,” he told reporters after officiating the second Asean School Games at Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium today.
Muhyiddin was responding to reports quoting MCA vice president Datuk Donald Lim as suggesting the formation of a “Chinese Perkasa” in response to the Malay rights group’s strident rhetoric and race-based demands.
Perkasa has grown from a one-man cause to include thousands of Malays who feel disaffected by proposed economic reforms that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants to use to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation for a plural society.
It has managed to influence Najib into continuing with an affirmative action policy for Bumiputeras, despite having signalled that his New Economic Model (NEM) is for all Malaysians, under his 1 Malaysia concept.
Ibrahim has used Perkasa to form an umbrella body called the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) and has received the support of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Perkasa’s demands for what it says are Malay rights has caused unease among some non-Malays, as well as moderate and liberal Malays who see the group as racist.
Muhyiddin said today Perkasa was not funded by Umno, but by independent Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali, who “might want to fight for Malay rights”.
He said that when forming an organisation, individuals must take into account the country’s best interests.
“An organisation cannot be formed to attack one another. It must have a common interest which appeals to the majority of people” he stressed.
MCA leaders yesterday distanced themselves from Lim’s suggestion, pointing out that it was his personal view.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has called Lim’s suggestion “ridiculous,” saying a Chinese Perkasa would only fan racial tension.
He said earlier today that Lim’s call also did not gel with Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept.