Perkasa and Gertak not supported by Malay Majority: Nazri
KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — If it were not for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, right-wing groups like Perkasa and Gertak would cease to exist, says Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
The minister in the prime minister’s department said the reason for the rise of these Malay rights groups was because the former prime minister had been endorsing their agenda by “speaking out” against the Najib administration.
The low turnout at the Gertak rally, said Nazri, showed Dr Mahathir did not have the support of the Malay majority.
“He is an icon. Groups like Perkasa, Gertak will die out without Dr Mahathir’s presence,” Nazri told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview this week.
The blunt politician pointed out that the small number of followers within these groups indicated that Dr Mahathir had the backing of only a minority of Malays.
“There are many Malays who believe in what Datuk Seri Najib Razak is doing. (Right-wing) groups like these are just fringe elements,” said Nazri when asked to comment on the low turnout at Gertak’s “Melayu Bangkit” rally in Kuala Terengganu four days ago.
Among the leaders who had attended the rally, which attracted just some 1,000 people, was Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said.
Nazri defended Ahmad’s presence at the rally, saying the mentri besar’s attendance was “out of respect” towards the former PM who ruled the country for 22 years.
“Malays are generally respectful of their elders... the only one who did not go (to the rally) was me,” said Nazri in jest.
A half empty hall listening to Dr M.
Perkasa has been vocal in opposing several of Najib’s reform plans, specifically proposals in the New Economic Model (NEM) which touch on opening up the economy and doing away with affirmative action quotas.
Dr Mahathir, who has also been critical of the NEM, has been seen at many Perkasa functions as well as the Gertak rally on Monday, which was originally scheduled for May 13 — a sensitive issue due to race riots on that date in 1969.
At the rally, he praised the government for rectifying what he called mistakes in the New Economic Model through the recently tabled 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).
Nazri said Dr Mahathir’s actions were only helping the opposition. — file pic
Dr Mahathir said the 10MP had identified problems which were overlooked by the NEM.
“(I think) he is the best prime minister the country has had. My issue with him is that after he stopped becoming prime minister he ‘menyusahkan kita’ (troubles us). Dr Mahathir must remember that the prime minister right now is Najib. He should help us. By doing what he’s doing its only helping the opposition,” said Nazri.
The law minister gave an example from the 1990s when Dr Mahathir was Umno president. He had advised Nazri, who was then Umno Youth deputy chief to not make his objections towards the appointment of Tan Sri Rahim Tambi Chik as Umno Youth chief public.
“Back then Dr Mahathir came up to me, and said that if I had any issues I should settle it within these four walls... he said I could approach him about it (the objections). Well, now he (Dr Mahathir) should heed his own advice,” said the outspoken Umno leader.
The Padang Rengas MP said Dr Mahathir was only “destroying his own legacy” by attacking the current Barisan Nasional government.
“By attacking the government, he is destroying his own legacy. He created all of us... I’m his creation, Najib is his creation. Don’t kill your own creations,” said Nazri.