Pakatan's top guns urge reps to resolve Malay insecurityPakatan Rakyat’s newly-elected representatives have to tackle the perception that the position of the Malays would be threatened without Umno to defend them, said top opposition leaders.
"Even though Malay bumiputera make up the large majority and have political power, their sense of insecurity is real, it is not made up," said PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
"So a number of programmes to assure the position of Malays and Islam needs to be done - but in a way that does not create distrust among the non-Muslim community," he told the audience of more than 200 PKR, PAS and DAP leaders.
Even though Pakatan succeeded in wresting 22 parliamentary seats from BN in last month's general election, it also ceded 15 parliamentary seats to BN that were in the Malay heartland of Kelantan and Kedah.
And despite BN component parties suffering heavy losses in the 13th general election, Umno beat all odds to increase its parliamentary seats by nine, up from 79 in 2008.
Anwar said the Malay mindset persists as Umno continues to incite such racial insecurities particularly among the Malay community, and the system created by Umno allowed for it to persist.
"This does not only affect the rural and interior communities. The propaganda is incessant, insidious and so effective that it is no longer confined to the remote Malay heartlands.
"I have met intellectuals whom we categorise as professor kangkung (half-past-six professors) and civil servants who are in full agreement with the Perkasa-type of argument - that Malays are under siege," he said.
Perkasa is an ultra-right-wing Malay rights group that has been vocal in advocating for Malay hegemony.
Anwar said that Pakatan, in particular PKR and PAS must find ways to overcome this problem.
"This also includes DAP. The three parties must understand the problems and find ways to resolve it," he said.
He was speaking at the opening of the opposition coalition's leadership convention today in Ampang.
Earlier, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who addressed the room also spoke at length on the same matter.
'Malays indoctrinated since independence'
"Through indoctrination by Umno, the party is seen as the defender of Malays and Islam and if we look at the general election results closely, Malays are still concerned that if Umno loses, what would become of Umno and Islam.
"That is the perception that has been buried in people's minds since Merdeka until now, and the rakyat is afraid of Umno losing... therefore if we want to take over the government, we must work hard to resolve this by the next general election," he said.
He also lamented the lack of emphasis on human rights among the Malay community and urged the new term of Pakatan representatives who will be sworn in tomorrow to take up the issue.
"In general, Malays tend to believe strongly in takdir (fate) even though if the basis of it is debatable.
"For example, in the case of (former DAP aide) Teoh Beng Hock, there is much debate among the Chinese community, but the debate (among the Malays) is less rigorous in the case of (Customs officer) Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed," he said.
Teoh was found dead at the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) building in 2009 after spending a night there under interrogation.
Ahmad Sarbaini (right) died under similar circumstances at another MACC premises two years later.
"That is why we hope the MPs will help change this situation and continue to fight for Islam as well as human rights, worker's rights, death in custody and also extortion against foreign workers," he said.