Human rights group Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong has admonished opposition and civil society leaders who support Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new political party.
"I am truly surprised that leaders of Pakatan Harapan as well as some civil society leaders have welcomed this new party with open arms when it is neither civil nor hopeful.
"Can any civil society leader or political leader espousing progressive reforms for our country accept a political party that is open only to bumiputeras?" he asked.
"Have they lost their marbles simply because Mahathir is staunchly anti-Najib?
"They better come to their senses or they may lose their credibility altogether in their contortionist bid...," he added in a media statement.
Kua pointed out that racism and racial discrimination have been part of the Malaysian political, economic, social and cultural realities ever since colonial times.
At present, he said, race is deeply institutionalised that it is a key factor determining benefits from government development policies, bids for business contracts, education policy, social policy, cultural policy, entry into educational institutions, discounts for purchasing houses and other official policies.
"Institutional racism is an integral part of the Malaysian socio-political system. The ruling coalition is still dominated by racially-defined component parties, Umno, MCA and MIC.
"These parties compete for electoral support from their respective 'racial' constituencies by pandering to 'racial' interests. Invariably, their racist inclinations are exposed at their respective party congresses," he added.
The Suaram adviser, who was one of those arrested under the Internal Security Act during the infamous Ops Lalang when Mahathir was prime minister, said there is no doubt that the latter is still caught up in this racist ideology.
According to Kua, the very existence of racially-based political parties is an anachronism way past their sell-by date.
"Where in the world today can one find political parties that are restricted to only one race?" he asked, adding that the time has come for non-racial solutions to Malaysian challenges.
"Political parties formed on the basis of race to further the interests of their respective races should be outlawed as such practices are inconsistent with international conventions against racism and racial discrimination," he said.
As for Mahathir, Kua said: "Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself."
The new party will be led by former deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin while Mahathir will serve as its chairperson.