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Umno’s Pasir Mas charade dents 1Malaysia

 | April 20, 2013

Political observer and author Kee Thuan Chye says the move has proven Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's adeptness at trickery.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno’s eleventh hour decision to pull out of the Pasir Mas race has dealt another blow to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan.

By doing so, Umno has paved the way for Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali to defend his seat in a straight fight with Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz, the son of PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

Prior to this, Umno had named its Pasir Mas division deputy chief Che Johan Che Pa as the candidate.

But Che Johan, who was present at the nomination centre this morning, did not file his papers.

Some observers speculated that it could have been due to pressure from former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is the patron of Perkasa.

However, political observer and author Kee Thuan Chye said the move was probably part of Najib’s plan from the start.

“We can see through the subterfuge in Pasir Mas. Najib didn’t dare name Ibrahim outright for fear the non-Malays would crucify him for naming someone largely seen as a racist.

“Najib would have been exposed for contradicting his own 1Malaysia hogwash. He named Che Johan Che Pa instead,” he said in a Facebook posting.

When Che Johan did not file his nomination papers, Kee said it was obvious that the Umno leader was not meant to do so from the start.

“It was all a sandiwara [charade] to let Ibrahim Ali contest in a straight fight against the PAS candidate. Najib shows once again his adeptness at trickery and his gutlessness in presenting the people with the truth.

“Does such a person deserve to win and be prime minister again? He said a few days ago, ‘If you love me, please help me’. Does he deserve our love? Should we help him?” he asked.

Ibrahim had been embroiled in a string of controversies, with the latest being his call to burn Malay-language bibles that contained the word Allah.

Outsourcing extremism

Despite Umno distancing itself from Perkasa, certain observers claim that the political party, in order to placate the non-Malays, had outsourced its extremism to the movement and therefore the latter’s leaders were never hauled up for their often seditious remarks.

Even Mahathir had defended Perkasa on the grounds that such groups mushroomed following Umno’s failure to defend Malay rights.

Ibrahim’s detractors also often label him as a “frog” due to his tendency for party-hopping.

In the 2008 general election, the former Umno supreme council member won the Pasir Mas seat under the PAS ticket after defeating Ahmad Rasdi Mahmed from BN-Umno with a 8,991 vote majority.

Prior to his, Umno stirred an hornet’s nest when it named Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin as its candidate for Shah Alam, a Malay-Muslim majority seat.

The decision drew widespread condemnation.

Zulkifli, a former PKR member, landed in the spotlight after a video of him insulting Hindu deities went viral on You Tube.

His candidacy had even upset MIC, with its strategy director S Vell Paari warning that it could lead to an electoral backlash from Indian voters.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday defended Zulkifli as a candidate with calibre and pointed out that he had apologised for his remarks.

Zulkifli, the former Kulim Bandar Baharu MP, would be facing PAS incumbent Khalid Samad in Shah Alam.

Also read:

Umno gives way to Ibrahim in Pasir Mas


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