PETALING JAYA: The short and stocky politician had been branded "Public (non-Malay) Enemy No 1" for his hard hitting racist remarks. Even Umno, which critics had condemned for propagating racist politics, found him too hot to handle.
But whatever his shortcomings, Perkasa boss Ibrahim Ali had revealed that when it comes to the issue of poverty, he was colour-blind.
“As far as helping Malaysian citizens to get out of poverty, regardless of race, we Perkasa support it all out. We strongly support that the government must not only help the poor Malays, but also the non-Malays,” he said in a video posted on YouTube.
The Pasir Mas MP, in his typical animated style, lamented that despite this, the people always misconstrued Perkasa's stand.
On numerous occasions, Ibrahim had denied being a racist and explained that Perkasa was concerned with upholding the Federal Constitution and the special position of the Malays.
The YouTube video was an interview conducted by Monash University journalism lecturer Wong Chin Huat in Parliament on Oct 12.
Discounts for all
Wong had also asked if the 7% bumiputera housing discount should be extended to all races and this had Ibrahim squirming in his seat. After a brief deliberation, he replied: “Well... I do agree in a way.”
However, he stressed that it should only be for the poor non-Malays.
"For example (in buying a house), if you are Chinese, your income is RM1,500 and below, (which is) the same as a bumiputera buying a house, I believe you (the Chinese) should also get that discount," he said.
He added that the discounts should only be given for houses priced RM150,000 and below.
As for low-cost houses, Ibrahim was firm in his view that everyone should fork out the same amount of money.
Meanwhile, Wong said he was a “bit surprised” with the Perkasa boss' statement.
Describing his conversation with Ibrahim as an “academic interview”, he said that the latter tried to give the impression that he was reasonable.
"I was impressed by his sophistication," Wong said, adding that Ibrahim did not appear like a naïve racist.