By Muzliza Mustafa, The Malay Mail
KUALA LUMPUR: The rising popularity of Malay rights group Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) should not be blamed on Umno Youth's incapability in championing the cause of the race.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said the void can be created in many ways.
He was responding to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's comment in online news portal Malaysian Insider that Perkasa's popularity among Malays was due to the failure of Umno Youth's leadership in championing Malay rights.
“Do not blame Umno Youth, Umno, Puteri Umno or MCA on the void,” said Hishamuddin after officiating the 13th FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA) Conference at a hotel near Mid Valley today.
He said at this time when many issues are being raised, the public should focus on filling up the void or counter it, and not blame any group for the growing popularity of Perkasa.
Tengku Razaleigh had, last Saturday, also said that current Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s ostensibly staunch support for party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was just a ploy to get a Cabinet position.
“There is a vacuum in Umno Youth, when it should be the spokesman for the Malays. But the present Umno Youth leadership does not articulate the Malay plight."
The Kelantan prince, popularly known as Ku Li, claimed that Umno Youth had lost its tenacity and vigour in championing the community, with the leaders engrossed in eyeing positions for themselves.
“This sounds very pathetic but they say he (Khairy) wants to become minister, so that’s why he has to support the prime minister, at least that’s what people say.
“The fact remains that Umno Youth used to question a lot of issues concerning the plight of Malays. That has always been the role of Umno Youth,” said Tengku Razaleigh.
The Gua Musang MP noted that the current mood in the party made it timely for Perkasa to recruit more disgruntled Umno members.
Outspoken Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali started Perkasa as a one-man pressure group for Malay rights. It now has branches and divisions in every state in Malaysia.
There was also claim that Perkasa has 200,000 members. Out of these numbers, 80 per cent are from Umno.
Tengku Razaleigh also claimed that Umno branch meetings were not attended by their Youth and Puteri wings, to the point where meetings could not make quorum.