Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ibrahim Ali: Malaysiakini causing 'unrest'

Pulling no punches, Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali explained why Malaysiakini is not in his good books, citing the 'nonsensical' and 'irresponsible' reporting of this news portal which he claimed has caused much public unrest.

In the final of Malaysiakini's three-part exclusive, Ibrahim also touched on the resurgence of Umno-linked NGOs taking to the streets, and Malay activists going on the offensive.

Ibrahim denied any links between Perkasa and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at the same time rubbishing speculation that the Malay NGO would join BN.

He also aired his views about Kelantan's fight for oil royalty and the new emergence of a third independent bloc in Parliament as a third force to be reckoned with.

Below are the excerpts of the interview, edited for content and brevity:

NONEMalaysiakini: You say you are not too keen about Malaysiakini?

Ibrahim Ali: I want to tell you, Malaysiakini is one of those causing a lot of unrest amongst the people. What I say is true. I follow (Malaysiakini), it is not as if I do not. I have been watching.

Through our coverage?

Yes, true! In truth, I don't want to entertain Malaysiakini. But in the spirit of openness, I just say "come". I don't want to entertain (you) because (Malaysiakini is) a nuisance! Sometimes what it publishes is totally irresponsible. I just want to say this straight. (Malaysiakini is) without any consideration.

You have to read the federal constitution. We worry that something bad may happen to our country. Because if something (bad) happens, all is useless. That is why we in Perkasa place national security above all else.

Racism is the easiest thing to occur, if we don't handle things well. Nowadays comments, speeches and insults are freely being published, especially on websites (like Malaysiakini).

What message would you convey to Malaysiakini?

The point is, even if we say that we are open in reporting and what not, we still must be responsible. There are some issues that are not appropriate, which you shouldn't publish. Things that may be sensitive. But not if (it is) something which may cause tension.

NONEI don't know, this is what people are saying at coffeehouses and elsewhere, they say, "Malaysiakini is crazy" or something like that. Especially amongst the Malays.

My advice is, be careful. In your reporting, don't make too much innuendos. You always ask about things that have not happened yet. This is what is sometimes causing the situation to be tense for no reason. So only report based on facts and be wary of sensitive issues.

I want to tell you, in the book 'An Introduction to the Federal Constitution' by Tun Mohd Suffian, the former Lord President, chapter eight, he mentioned clearly, the basic principles of the Malaysian constitution with reference to Article 153. Indeed after May 13, Article 153 has been protected more securely under the Sedition Act.

Mohd Suffian said, after the amendments in 1971, nobody, I repeat nobody, can talk, discuss, either behind closed doors, open, or even in legislature, matters related to the Malay rights, native rights, privileges, citizenship and what not. That is stated in the book. But now you see (those matters being openly discussed). So, our laws have become a mockery.

So, that is why I have said that 100 percent freedom will destroy all freedom. The best freedom is 85 percent. 15 percent you reserve, for preventive measures like ISA and things like that. If 100 percent freedom, we are going to have 100 percent chaos.

Compared to 10 years ago, more and more pro-Umno groups are taking their protest to the streets. Why?

Yes, that it is their right and freedom, so they take to the streets. We (Perkasa and MPM) have not yet reached that stage.

Do you feel that the Malay youth are rising up to fight for Malays rights?

Yes! We are going to fight. That is why I said, that we are no longer on the defensive; we are going on the offensive.

NONEWill Perkasa and Majlis Perundingan Melayu (MPM) take to the streets?

Not yet. For that we will discuss in the MPM. It is not my personal decision or opinion. It depends. There are some actions we take under the aegis of MPM. Some actions, if we don't reach a consensus, the various NGOs will take individually.

What is your relationship with former premier Mahathir?


In Perkasa? Does he play a part?

No, he has no part in Perkasa. It is just that we sometimes call him to our events to hear his opinions.

What about for funding and as advisor?

None! No funding (from Mahathir). Funding is only from our members and from donations.

What about moral support?

Only moral (support).

What is your opinion on the Kelantan oil royalty issue?

To me it is simple; if Kelantan feels they rightfully deserve to receive oil royalty, take it to the courts. If the courts say Kelantan has the right, then it is okay, thank Allah. I would be happy too.

While waiting for the courts, if the federal government gives 'compassionate funds', that is also good. At least, the rakyat can benefit from it while waiting for the decision, which might take a long time.

So, you support the state government's efforts in demanding for oil royalty?

Yes, but if through proper channels. By bringing it to the courts, not by politicising this issue to the villages. What is the use of raising sentiments and causing public outrage. It is more like they want to gain political mileage than fighting for the good of the people. That is how I see it.

Are you working together with the Kelantan lawmakers to find a solution and strengthen this demand?

As I told the state government in my speech, if they do not bring the matter to court, if they dilly-dally and continue to politicise the issue, I shall bring the matter to the courts as a Kelantanese.

I have researched the matter from the legal perspective. I thought it would be difficult as I have no locus standi, because the agreement is between Petronas and the state government.

But my lawyers told me that as a Kelantanese, there are ways and means for me to bring the matter to court, and at the same time I can ask the state government to act as intervener during the proceedings. This is, if I have to bring the matter to court. If the state does not act.

But I found out that the state have brought a motion to the state assembly and has been passed. So I hope they will expedite it! Don't use the issue for political mileage, use something else for political mileage. Don't play with issues that involves laws, it would only confuse the public.

How is your relationship with the Kelantan government?

Normal; I can make friends with everyone. One thing about me, even if people say I am fierce, fiery or loud, I can make friends with everyone.

If people lambast me, I don't care. But, when I lambast them back, they should relax, don't get angry. Some people they like to lambast people, but when lambasted (they can't take it). I am a gentleman.

Whatever you want to say about me go ahead. But whatever I say, whenever I say it, report it properly. Don't play around. I am very open.

What are your views about the rise in the number of independent MPs?

I welcome the rise in number of independent MPs. It used to be me alone, then joined by the two from Sabah. More recently from Bayan Baru, followed by Nibong Tebal and now, Bagan Serai. So we have six independents.

I foresee more joining us. And if the numbers increase, we might be able to form a bloc and make an impact in the local political scenario.

Will you lead the independent bloc?

That is up to them. How can I simply say that I am the leader? Why do you ask about things that we have not decided yet? I am okay with just being a follower; I can even stay in the background. I am not that excited (about becoming a leader), I am excited about the Malay cause.

BN has opened up membership for NGOs. Will you join BN?

I don't know. I don't think about these things. If Perkasa wants to do anything the members must decide it. We need to call an EGM to decide. All the members will decide, not me.

Will you table the matter of the BN membership to the members?

No, there (will be) no such thing. We are not interested in all this (joining BN).

So you will continue your fight as an independent candidate?

Yes, Allah willing, as of now. But in politics things can change anytime. Look at Pakatan Rakyat, they say they want to go to Putrajaya, but forget Putrajaya, they didn't even make it to Ipoh.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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