Kadir on why new party is bumiputera-based

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PETALING JAYA: Former newspaper editor A Kadir Jasin has explained why supporters of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to form a bumiputera-based party instead of a multi-racial one.

Defending the decision against complaints by other politicians, Kadir said the decision arose from a wish to limit the potential conflict with other opposition Muslim-Malay parties.

“It wasn’t that the promoters of the new party didn’t think of forming a multi-racial party,” he wrote today in a blog article in English.

He denied that Dr Mahathir’s supporters had ignored the need for multiracialism. “The new party pledges to give full recognition to multiracialism and political reform while minimising potential conflict with the existing opposition political parties,” he said.

He said the ultimate goal was to defeat Barisan Nasional through one-to-one electoral contests and end BN hegemony.

He said the promoters of the new party had discussed the pros and cons of the two formulae in many meetings with supporters of the Save Malaysia People’s Declaration (Deklarasi Rakyat).

Kadir, a former chief editor of New Straits Times Press, has been speculated to be among the leaders of the new party.

He said those supporters who were formerly with Umno wanted to form a political party that would take on Umno but limit the possibility of a conflict with other Malay-Muslim parties.

“Those who come from multiracial parties, principally the PKR and DAP, would not like to see another multi-racial party vying for support and, worse still, stealing their members,” he said.

He said the former Umno leaders realised they need to provide the Malay community with an alternative to Umno. In Sabah, former Umno vice- president Shafie Apdal was organising a new bumiputera party based on the former United Sabah National Organisation “which handed power to Umno in 1991 and went into hibernation”.