According to Malaysian media, Perkasa says that remarks made by Mr Shanmugam comparing Malays in Singapore and Malaysia are an insult, and uncalled for.
Perkasa deputy chairman Sirajuddin Salleh said:
“I am concerned about the statement. It is not diplomatic and is an insult to the King and the government of Malaysia … I hope Wisma Putra (foreign affairs ministry) will issue a strong protest letter. To me, the remark is not good. I will not touch on the content because it is very subjective. “It is just like if he comes to my house and says something that is not nice. Whether he is right or not, that is subjective, but in this case, it is not very nice.”
Mr Sirajuddin added that Malaysia and Singapore were close neighbours and there should be greater diplomacy between both countries.
Comparing Singaporean Malays to Malays in Malaysia, Mr Shanmugam said at a seminar organised by the Association of Muslim Professionals that Singapore Malays are better off in terms of education, skills and wealth.
“With a stable, strong political system, with a strong government, with a guarantee for the minorities … with this framework, we can become the community that Muslim societies in other countries look towards and say, this is the example.”
“Look at the progress in education – our PISA scores, look at mathematics, science, reading.
“Compare a Malay PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) in Singapore and a Malay PMET in Malaysia, who is doing better.
“The same goes for the Indians, and for the Chinese in Singapore.
“Take them versus their counterparts across the causeway or around the region, we do better.”
At the seminar, Mr Shanmugam also highlighted the strides made by Singapore’s Malay community in the areas of education and jobs, and cautioned that while Singapore is doing better compared to many parts of the world, “within Singapore there is still a gap”.
He also cautioned against radicalisation by terrorist groups such as Islamic State, and warned of the increasing number of drug abusers from the Malay community.