He said Umno needed the support of such NGOs if the Barisan Nasional lynchpin did not want to risk losing more support from the ground.
“As such, we need as much support as possible. It is needless for us to quarrel with anyone (or any group). I feel we should endear ourselves to as many groups as possible,” he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house at his residence, here.
Last Thursday, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Umno was distancing itself from Perkasa as the group was eroding Barisan’s support among the non-Malays with its comments.
Dr Mahathir said Umno members were, at the moment, torn between supporting or distancing themselves from Perkasa, and added that such a situation could widen the divide between them.
“It has caused ambivalence among Umno members themselves. Some say they will stay (close), some say (they will) distance (themselves). This will divide them even more.
“Besides, in the last (general) election (in 2008), the margin was very small (between the BN and the opposition). If we lose some support, we might lose the (next) election,” he said.
Asked if Umno would be at the losing end if it distanced itself from Perkasa, Dr Mahathir said: “We cannot afford to quarrel with so many people. If you want to quarrel, quarrel with one, not everyone.”
Meanwhile, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, echoing his father’s sentiment, said he saw no point in Umno choosing to distance itself from Perkasa when the struggles of both were the same, which were to uphold the rights of the Malays.
“We don’t see why we should distance ourselves from them. I don’t quite see how I should not support them. I am not a Perkasa member but if they invite me to functions, I will attend,” he told reporters.
Some 10,000 people of various races and nationalities attended the open house. – Bernama