People in rural and unsophisticated urban constituencies still want racial politics, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today when defending the Bumiputera-centric position of his new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
The former prime minister said this was the reality of the political landscape despite sophisticated and “highly educated” urbanites’ belief that racial politics does not belong in modern times.
“For the rural people who largely are poor, race is not only important but they believe is essential for their well-being. Umno’s popularity is because it is a racial party.
“If the new party is to compete with Umno, it must give the people in the rural constituencies and the unsophisticated urban constituencies the kind of comfort associated with Umno’s kind of racism,” Dr Mahathir wrote on his blog.
The former Umno president also said a leadership change in the Malay nationalist party, which has been in power since independence with other race-based parties in Barisan Nasional (BN), was impossible and that it could not be revived.
“With these developments the idea of a new party to contest against Umno became not only attractive but also absolutely necessary,” said Dr Mahathir, who is also chairman of Parti Pribumi.
He claimed that Parti Pribumi, whose president will be former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, would restore democracy and rule of law.
Critics of Parti Pribumi, in which non-Bumiputera are restricted to associate membership and cannot vote or contest for party positions, have accused the newly formed party of racism.
DAP parliamentary Lim Kit Siang, however, said recently that Parti Pribumi could be a game changer if it wins a sizeable portion of Umno votes in the next general election.
The Malay Mail Online