KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — In a bid to add greater Malay muscle to reconciliation talks, Perkasa and 54 other Malay groups have joined forces and formed a unity panel dubbed Barisan Perpaduan Nasional or National Unity Front, to rival the government’s National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC).
Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahm Ali said the alternative unity panel was needed because the 30-member NUCC that has been tasked with drawing up a national unity blueprint, has been airing views he alleged to have harmed the Malays and disrupt unity, two Malay-language dailies reported.
“We can see there are efforts by the government to find a path to unity such as forming the NUCC but unfortunately the council that was set up does not reflect the society’s structure where the Malays represent the majority group.
“This is because the council only has 12 Malay representatives and among them are hose found to support liberalism, pluralism and issues demanded by the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the Universal Periodic Review Process (Comango),” Ibrahim was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia.
The Malay newspaper further reported Ibrahim saying the NUCC touched on sensitive issues such as Islam, Malays, the royal institution and issues that could threaten national security.
Citing Ibrahim, Malay news channel Astro Awani also reported on its website yesterday that the NUCC’s first dialogue session to collect public feedback on national unity had featured views that were not helpful in promoting unity.
The National Unity Front was reportedly formed to promote harmony and peace in the country, with the coalition saying that unity can be achieved when the dominant Malays hold good power, Astro Awani reported.
Among the NGOs listed in the 55-member coalition are Perkasa, Jati, Muafakat, Pembela, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM).
On February 18, Perkasa denounced the 30-man panel for purportedly having members with an “anti-nationalist” bent, claiming NUCC was actively promoting the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango), the latter which has been vilified by conservative religious groups for lobbying for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual rights.
But Comango has previously countered that their report to the United Nations was merely an effort to encourage Malaysia to prove its commitment towards improving the lot of all Malaysians via the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The NUCC has shrugged off Perkasa’s criticisms, saying that it can only prove its sceptics wrong with its work, which includes a series of nationwide feedback sessions n unity with the public.
NUCC was formed last November 30, after a slew of issues and statements that touched on racial sensitivities that followed a fractious national election in early May.
A large range of prominent personalities were appointed to the panel, including PAS’ Parit Buntar MP Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, former Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.