(Malaysiakini) Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said right-wing group Perkasa was merely championing the people's rights as spelt out in the constitution.
"In my view, Perkasa is not being provocative or encouraging people to hate each other unlike the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)," he said when met by reporters at his Aidilfitri open house at Dewan Senggarang in Batu Pahat.
Mohd Puad (right), who is also an Umno supreme council member, added that matters related to Perkasa were made political issues but close associations between political parties and extreme organisations like Dong Zhong did not merit the same treatment.
Meanwhile, in Ipoh, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the government practises a policy of inclusivenes towards all NGOs including Perkasa.
He said his ministry was ever willing to hear feedback from NGOs so long as they did not touch on sensitivities of any race in the country.
"The government does want any conflict wih any NGO including Perkasa especially where inputs towards the formulation of the NEM, Economic Transformation and annual budgets are concerned," he told reporters after presenting aid to 15 families whose houses were damaged in a storm in Bandar Baru Putra today. Mahathir to officiate Perkasa event
He said this when asked to comment about the prime minister's statement yesterday that Umno wanted to avoid conflicts with any NGO including the right-wing Perkasa.
In Kota Bharu, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali said his NGO was not involved in politics but was only voicing out the people rights as provided for by the constitution.
"I wish to reiterate here that we are not a political party and are also not supporting any party including Umno but are championing the people's rights under the constitution," he told reporters after holding a briefing session for the machinery organising a people's gathering here on Sept 25.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is scheduled to grace it. - Bernama
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.