SHAH ALAM, Feb 28 — A panel of politicians agreed today that all races are divided politically but Perkasa insisted that politics must not be the cause of divisions among Malays.
The forum titled “Why are Malay votes split?” saw all panellists agree that “it is an undeniable fact that Malay voters are split.”
“The moment there was Umno and PAS, it became a clear fact,” said PAS research chief Dzulkefly Ahmad.
Former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat also agreed but added that “it doesn’t mean other races will take advantage or profit from this.”
“You cannot say that Chinese are not split since DAP existed. But it is not a zero-sum game. If we continue with the existing racial polemic, we won’t get anywhere,” the Pandan MP said.
But Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim said that such a split was not necessary and pointed to the 1974 elections when PAS was part of Barisan Nasional (BN) which won 87.7 per cent of Parliament.
This came right after the ruling coalition had ceded its two-thirds majority for the first time in 1969, a result that preceded race riots which saw hundreds, if not thousands killed.
“When there is a split, there are those that will gain and those that will lose. What Perkasa wants is Malay unity, which is a unity of the faith, a way of life, culture and Scripture. Political parties should not cause a split among Malays,” he said.
He pointed out that when Malays, Chinese and Indians “joined their hearts” to fight a common enemy, the British, Malaysia gained its independence.
But PKR Johor chief Datuk Chua Jui Meng disagreed, saying that “Malays, Indians and Chinese are all split but that is no longer relevant.”
“If MCA keeps talking about Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, in the end, it will not solve big picture problems,” said the former health minister, who was defeated by Ong for the MCA presidency in 2008.
Recent by-elections have shown that Chinese voters are increasingly backing the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) while BN still holds an edge among Malays.
Umno’s media especially Utusan Malaysia has repeatedly expressed concern over the division of Malays between Umno, PAS and PKR, and also said that Amanah, the NGO formed by Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, would cause a further split in the community.