Kudos to Nazri Aziz, Khairy Jamaluddin and other Umno leaders who are against the idea of working with Perkasa. Unfortunately, some hardliners in Umno are still stubborn in defending the racist movement, believing that an unholy liaison with Perkasa could win them more Malay voters.
However, it is a fact that Perkasa needs Umno more than the other way round. These hardliners may have misread the ground. Can Perkasa really win more Malay votes for Umno? There are several fallacies surrounding this belief;
1. More than 60% of Perkasa membership are Umno members which means that the movement has not been able to attract the Malay community especially the fence sitters in a big way. Most of the urban Malays would find an association with Perkasa as regressive and racist;
2. Perkasa needs an organisation like Umno to play its role as a Devil's advocate. Without the support and a tacit association with Umno, it is not possible for Perkasa to play its role effectively. Perkasa needs Umno to be afraid of its 'influence'. It is unlikely that the right wing organisation can get its way with both Pas and PKR. But the presence and association with Perkasa poisons Umno's role and leadership in BN. Perkasa needs an organisation to threaten and Umno fits the bill.
3. Umno leader and Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said right-wing group Perkasa was merely championing the people's rights as spelt out in the constitution.
"In my view, Perkasa is not being provocative or encouraging people to hate each other unlike the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)."
As an education deputy minister, Puad should be send back to school to learn the constitution and history of Malaya. Many groups are doing a far better job than Perkasa in championing the people's rights as enshrined in the constitution. These organisations have been pushing for the recognition of indigenous people in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia to be accepted and respected for their Bumiputera rights. Umno is only focusing on the Malays albeit not all Malays - only those who are well-connected or aligned to the party. Perkasa is doing a bad job even in standing up for the rights of common Malays.
4. However, hardliners in the party and chiefly Dr Mahathir needed a platform. Perkasa allows them the platform to continue to holding Umno at ransom. Take this platform away, these hardliners can no longer practice their brand of politics - very little ideas but a lot of chest beating.
5. Even the Perkasa founder, Ibrahim Ali, is an opportunist. Seeing an erosion of support for BN/Umno, he was motivated to create Perkasa to renew his waning political fortune. Unfortunately, Perkasa was created using the wrong formula. It sounded like Umno post-2004 - arrogant, hostile and brash. Perkasa cannot become mainstream but merely serving fringe interest of hardcore ring-wing within Umno, Pas and PKR. Neither is Ibrahim daring enough to register his movement as a political party and participate in the next general election. It will expose the level of support for his organisation. I expect most of its candidates to lose their deposit. Perkasa is only creating a smokescreen to hide its real strength and support base.
Why would Perkasa threaten Umno if it can stand on its own feet? PM Najib should not flip-flop on his decision to alienate Perkasa. If he cannot be decisive about this tiny threat and issue, can his leadership be counted on to make a stand on larger issue such as race relations and the NEP?