The public should not be blamed for thinking that Perkasa is playing up the Malay bible issue to benefit Umno, says a scholar.
PETALING JAYA: With Chinese voters having turned their backs on the ruling coalition and the Indian votes hanging in the balance, is Umno working with Perkasa to shore up Malay support ahead of the polls?
Nottingham University communication professor Zaharom Nain said the public cannot be faulted for making such an assumption.
“You can’t blame the thinking people because it appears to be so,” he told FMT.
Zaharom was commenting on Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali’s call on Muslims to burn the Malay bibles containing the term Allah.
While some viewed this as an attempt to rally Malay/Muslim sentiments, there were also those who claimed that it could be an attempt to divert attention from the Royal Commission of Inquiry in Sabah.
Zaharom said that Umno should clear the air about its links with Perkasa.
“Barisan Nasional component parties have also failed to come out strongly against Ibrahim because he is backed by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad who is still influential,” he added.
Alliance would backfire
Monash University’s Prof James Chin warned that the Perkasa-Umno alliance would backfire on BN.
“It is not going to help Umno since Ibrahim is attempting to start another May 13,” he added.
He said that the move would not change the Chinese vote bank as “the Chinese have long deserted BN.”
UCSI’s political analyst Ong Kian Ming was also confident that Umno was backing Ibrahim and Perkasa.
“Umno has always outsourced its extremist policies, it thinks [of these things] but can’t say [them] because by doing so they would alienate the non-Muslim voters,” said the DAP election strategist.
Chin and Zaharom had mixed views on the current controversy in relation to the ongoing RCI in Sabah regarding the granting of citizenship to immigrants.
Chin felt that the issue would not affect the coverage on the RCI.
“The RCI would be ongoing until after the general election. The findings would be mind blowing,” he said.
Zaharom, however, said: “It is more than coincidental for Ibrahim to rant while the RCI is ongoing.”
Umno had always distanced itself from Perkasa but observers remain unconvinced, especially since the movement appeared to enjoy the privilege of legal immunity in churning out sensitive remarks.