PETALING JAYA: PPBM deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir admits that he now feels guilty about having played the race card during his time with Umno, particularly against opposition party DAP.
However, he said things are different in PPBM although it is still a Malay party.
“This is a question that we often put thought into – what is PPBM’s positioning compared to Umno?
“In the early stages, we had friends in Pakatan Harapan criticising us for wanting to form a race-based party.
“But we must understand how Umno won its rural seats, which helped them win the general election, even though the opposition won 51% of the popular vote,” he said in an interview with Malaysiakini.
Mukhriz said for decades, Umno had used racial and religious fears as a weapon against DAP.
However, he had come to realise that Malays under the DAP-led Penang government were actually well taken care of.
“Looking at Umno, when there were big issues which we could not address, we would talk about DAP, Chinese chauvinism and how Lim Kit Siang becoming prime minister would destroy Malaysia, that the Malays would disappear, and the mosques can no longer air the azan.
“I admit that I too have said such things, in front of a 100% Malay audience. Thinking back, I feel guilty and a sense of regret,” he was quoted as saying.
Mukhriz also refuted critics who said PPBM was not “Malay or Muslim enough”.
“We are talking about the fight against corruption, alleviating poverty – how is that not Islamic? Are you telling me this is not what the Malays want?”