|Harakahdaily,||19 April 2013|
Apr 19: A think-tank has compared Barisan Nasional's list of candidates with that of Pakatan Rakyat component parties, saying it proved that the ruling coalition "remains firmly anchored in racist politics".
"This is evident in its selection of extremist politicians in its slate of 'winnable candidates'. Perhaps the most unsettling example is Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin, who will be contesting in Shah Alam under the BN banner," said Kuala Lumpur-based Research for Social Advancement or REFSA, an organisation which in recent times have produced in-depth studies on national economy.
REFSA also noted that PAS's fielding of a non-Muslim candidate despite the party dominated by Muslims showed that the Islamic party was not stuck in a time-capsule.
"PAS proves that it is certainly not passé – the Islamist party has named its first ever non-Muslim candidate for a parliamentary seat, Malaysian-Chinese Christian Hu Pang Chow for the Ayer Hitam constituency," it added.
Besides Hu, PAS is also fielding Richard Wong and Kumutha Raman for a state seat in Melaka and Johor respectively.
REFSA said the most notable example that BN could not come out of its racial mindset was its choice of the Perkasa vice-president in Shah Alam.
Zulkifli has angered Malaysians when he condemned Hindu deities and symbols of Hinduism, and used the extremely taboo term 'keling' to describe Malaysian Indians.
"When uncompromising characters like Zulkifli are touted as 'transformation candidates', what can we conclude about Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s mission to 'transform' the economy, politics and government?" asked REFSA, a staunch critic of BN chairman's much-trumpeted Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
The group also compared the current BN candidates list which has 30% "fresh faces" with its 2004 list finalised by then prime minister Abdullah Badawi, several months after taking over power.
"He [Abdullah] fielded 71% new faces when leading the BN into general elections for the first time in 2004 and 55% in his second elections in 2008," it noted.
~ Harakah Daily