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‘No benefits in BN but PPP will remain loyal’

 | May 28, 2012

Its president says the party could have gone far on its own but insists it will not leave BN anytime soon.

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PETALING JAYA: The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) never benefited politically as a Barisan National (BN) coalition member, its president M Kayveas said.

He said the party had potential to grow and become more popular with the people if it had independently defended social rights.

“… PPP never benefited by being in the BN. As a political party, it could have grown very far,” he said during a recent interview with FMT Raw.

He added that the political scene back in the early 1970s was different, with very few opposition parties or NGOs besides the ruling regime.

Kayveas said should PPP continue to champion social rights, it would have grown as a political outfit.

“I grew up in a poor environment. I knew what poverty is. I have seen people with no food to eat, no place to sleep.

“PPP would have been a completely different party championing all these [issues],” he said.

But he added that financing the party as an independent force would have been difficult and so the party decided to join the ruling coalition and has never looked back since.

Loyal to BN

He also said that the PPP may be deemed by many as a “small player” in BN but the party was very active on the ground by constantly mobilising its supporters through activities.

“In terms of benefits in the [BN] political hierarchy, we didn’t benefit. People have always said that PPP has no position in the coalition and that we are a small player. But if you look at our activities on the ground through our various wings, we are better than other component parties,” he said.

However, when asked if he would leave the ruling coalition, Kayveas pledged his loyalty to BN, saying the party will have “no future other than BN”.

He said that PPP will only consider leaving BN if there is a viable opposition force.

“Many of my friends said that if PPP had pulled out after the 2008 general election, we would be somewhere else. But I have principles and character.

“If the opposition is better than BN, then we will immediately come out and join the party which can give something better,” he said.

But he added that a viable option is not available yet as the opposition today is insincere and merely interested in spreading slander and not formulating constructive policies.

“They [opposition] need to provide a vision… something they can provide for the future… not merely populist policies.

“But we don’t have future anywhere other than BN. If BN were to be the opposition, then we will be in the opposition as well because we still feel BN is a better choice. No reason for us to jump ship,” he said.

‘Why the fuss?’

Clarifying on the on-going tiff between PPP and fellow coalition partners, Gerakan, over the Taiping parliamentary seat, Kayveas said that PPP is not eyeing the seat and did not understand why Gerakan is kicking up a fuss.

“I don’t understand why [Gerakan deputy president] Chan Ko Youn started making noise… [maybe] it’s because everyone thinks Gerakan is dead and it is trying to drag me into the picture,” he said, adding that he will not be dragged into the fight.

He said that after discovering that there was an attempt to sabotage him by both Gerakan and MIC in 2008, he had “surrendered” the seat back to Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon.

“I surrendered the seat to Koh immediately after one month of losing the seat [in the 2008 general election]. So I don’t understand the noise now.

“We have surrendered the seat and we are not eyeing it. I think Tan Lian Hoe [Gerik MP and Gerakan Wanita chief, who is keen on the Taiping seat] has worked hard.

“… I think [the fuss over the Taiping seat] comes from people in Gerakan who are trying to sabotage their party,” he said.

Kayveas also defended right-wing group, Perkasa, saying Perkasa is merely trying to defend the rights of the Malays.

“The Chinese champion Chinese issues, the Indians champion Indian issues. Where will the Malays go? Malays have to challenge Malay issues,” he said.

Commenting on the group’s leader Ibrahim Ali, Kayveas said that Ibrahim “sometimes speak without understanding the sentiments of others”.

“Similarly, we have others who speak without [considering] the sentiments of other people.

“When you champion for your rights, you want the Malays to just back off. Perkasa is just similar to any other [group]. Everyday, you find there are more racist people in Chinese and Indian groups.

“I am just saying that everybody in the country fights for the rights of their own community.”


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