Malaysia: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the need for Ethical Leadership

January 31, 2018

Malaysia: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the need for Ethical Leadership

by Geraldine

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (seen with G25’s Dato Redzuan Kushairi) at a press conference in Shah Alam on January 27, 2018

It is not good enough for a leader to be “cleaner than others”, said Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“It, therefore, follows that such a view as ‘but our leaders are cleaner than those from some other countries’ is unacceptable.It should be ‘our leaders are clean’, full stop,” he said in his keynote address at the G25 public forum titled “Reforms for a Progressive Malaysia” in Shah Alam today.

Tengku Razaleigh also said that a good leader must be an ethical person with high integrity, who is honest and sincere. A morally upright leader would have a strong moral high ground as his leadership base. Conversely, once that high ground is lost, the right to remain in office becomes ticklish,” he said.

In the age of social media, Tengku Razaleigh said this “loss of right” would be disseminated quickly and in no uncertain terms. The masses rightly consider it their right to have leaders of high morality, he added.

This moral right, he said, is one of two elements of leadership right with the other one being the physical right.

For example, Tengku Razaleigh said, a political party must win a fairly contested election so that it may govern a country. “Should that election be run on the principle of victory as reflected by being first past the post, then a political grouping without a majority of popular votes but having the majority of elected seats will be on a sticky wicket.This would amount to a lack of moral right to lead,” he added.

Good leadership would also require leaders in both public and private sectors to subject themselves to public scrutiny, he said.

He suggested that the scrutiny is done by Parliament through a “permanent independent multi-party commission” answerable only to the august House.The commission should be given wide powers to investigate and confiscate illegally obtained assets.

“Everyone who was vested with executive authority must be subjected to this examination.“Personally I would freely offer and submit myself to this examination,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh also stressed the importance of a balanced separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary branch of government.

“A student of politics is inclined to think that this is stating the obvious.But we have to since that separation of powers had once been trampled upon in our case,” he said.


On Daim Zainuddin–The Silent One

January 5, 2017

Malaysia’s Daim Zainuddin–Controversial but Competent and Effective Finance Minister and Political Operative Par Excellence

by Professor Mohamed Zain

Image result for Daim Zainuddin and Mahathir

Books have been written about Tun Daim Zainuddin, but not many people know who the real Daim is. He is famous for being taciturn. Everyone knows that Daim is the silent type; so silent, in fact, that the victims of his scheming and conniving have fallen like ten pins without ever knowing what hit them.

He has, on the quiet, made a career of shooting poison darts, laying booby traps. and knifing friend or foe in the back. His hand is never seen, but his mark is everywhere. Truth to tell, he has been at the root of many national crises, but his name has never been smudged, thanks to the wealth he wields and his bond of friendship with Dr. Mahathir.

Silent cancer

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Most members of UMNO’s new generation are aware that Daim is an acquisitive millionaire and a macho man with a taste of young women, but they concede him these weaknesses because they see in him a clean and competent Economic Adviser to the Government. But the generation of Harun Idris, Musa Hitam and Manan Othman to name just a few of the old hands – they are the ones to ask in order to discover who the real Daim is.

It was Dato’ Harun who plucked Daim up from the depths of failure in the salt business. Daim’s wife, Mahani and Harun’s wife, Salmah were good friends and an influential pair in the early 1970s. It was wife power that moved Harun to give Daim 160 acres of prime Kampung Pandan land. And thus Syarikat Maluri was born.

There is no use speculating over how much Daim paid Harun. After all, the two were fast friends. For the gory details, just ask Low Kiok Bow or Thamby Chik. They can relate how Daim cheated a land broker and greased Selangor state executive councillor and Mahathir’s brother-in-law, Ahmad Razali for that piece of land.

 Of course, Daim still had to pay for the land. In those days, it was not easy to borrow from a bank. Hence, he was forced to corrupt Bank Bumiputra. Lorraine Osman and Rais Saniman know how much he spent. Manan Othman can no doubt confirm the figure, he was so close to Daim that they tried to share a girl friend, with Manan often borrowing the bedroom at Daim’s office in Taman Maluri.

Mahathir’s choice

Image result for Daim Zainuddin and Mahathir

Daim’s elevation as Senator and, subsequently, Minister of Finance, was part of Mahathir’s strategic plan. Mahathir’s choice should surprise no one, after all the two were intimate friends from the same kampung in Seberang Perak, Alor Setar. Upon becoming Prime Minister on 16 July, 1981, the first thing on Mahathir’s mind was how to sideline his archenemy, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Musa squeezed out

Musa Hitam, the Deputy Prime Minister, was at first oblivious of the closet ties between Mahathir and Daim. Innocently, he expressed to Mahathir his disquiet over Daim’s wheeling and dealing, particularly his award of projects and contracts to his own associates and cronies. It must have baffled him when his complaints fell on deaf ears although he was Deputy Prime Minister, he has no say when it came to economic matters, particularly privatisation and the assignment (to supporters) of economic projects.

Image result for Musa Hitam

Daim told everyone he had no interest in politics, but all the while he was confident of getting the Finance Minister’s job after a stint with the Senate. A few months after joining the Senate, Daim became Chairman of Fleet, which owned the New Straits Times. In 1984, he finally got his dream job and became the third most important man in the Federal Cabinet, after the Prime Minister and his deputy.

How disappointed Musa must have been to find that Daim could not care less about his effort to help his supporters secure some projects or contracts. Daim succeeded in making millionaires of such cronies of Wan Azmi, Halim Saad, Tajuddin Ramli, Samsuddin Hassan, Razali Rahman and Tan Sri Basir, but Musa in the end was cast off as a poor ex-DPM.

Musa once complained to Mahathir that Daim had stolen a number of supporters’ project proposals, but again Mahathir ignored him. These were the first acts in the eventual breakup of the Mahathir-Musa partnership. As the interests of Mahathir and Daim bloated, Musa got squeezed out.

Many UMNO members assume that Razaleigh is Musa’s number one enemy. In fact, the reason for the 1986 split in UMNO must fall on Daim. It was he who drove Musa to the edge until he had no choice but to resign. Again, Daim’s man of few words demeanour to his advantage. Few knew of his behind-the-scenes role in that UMNO rupture not many more know it today.

One really should not wonder why Musa called a truce Razaleigh and the two decided to collaborate in the 1987 fight, the one that eventually caused UMNO to be outlawed. At that time, Daim was almost invincible, what support coming from such strongmen as Sanusi Junid and Anwar Ibrahim. The comradeship of the three was rock solid, and the Musa-Razaleigh camp could do nothing except to make a joke of it by giving them the nicknames AIDS.

Image result for daim zainuddin and mahathir

The United Engineers Company, bought for RM2, changed into a multi-million- ringgit corporation. As Finance Minister, Daim practically ordered banks to lend to companies that he himself owned. And no Daim crony every complained of difficulty in securing bank credit. Indeed, bankers lived in fear of Daim. Having appointed Wan Azmi and Basir to head Malayan Banking and Bank Bumiputra, he would give any project to any of his cronies because funding was not an issue.

If those physical projects were not enough, Daim also took every opportunity to take wealth from the share market as well. Every time the Treasury approved a company for listing on the stock exchange, Daim cronies received their lion’s shares. That was how Southern Bank, Resort World, Sports Toto, Berjaya, Tanjong and scores of other blue chip firms landed with Daim and Company.

Once, when share values were high, Daim boasted among friends that his visible wealth alone totalled RM65 billion. To shut the mouth of Barisan Nasional leaders, Daim gave lucrative projects (CRUMBS) to Samy Vellu and Ling Liong Sik so that their children could be big-shots in batches.

Daim managed to persuade UMNO members into believing that Mahathir would not let him go although he had asked to be relieved of his Cabinet post on a number of occasions.

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With Musa and Razaleigh out of the picture, Daim could grab as much wealth as he wanted without even Mahathir stopping him. Besides, he was UMNO’s treasurer and he could make it look as if the companies he controlled were those in which the party had a stake.

Daim’s avarice damaged not only his own image as finance minister, but also Mahathir’s and Malaysia ‘s reputation with the international community. It is said that he used to demand exorbitant fees for himself in negotiating contracts involving foreign suppliers. The chairmen of Japan ‘s two biggest banks – the Bank of Tokyo and Sanwa Bank – once complained to Mahathir that his Finance Minister demanded commissions that were too high when negotiating yen loans.

Margaret Thatcher, too, has complained about Daim’s role as a commissioned agent. He had – or still has – accounts in Zurich , London , Hong Kong, Tokyo , Singapore , Caymen Island , Channel Island and Virgin Island. Indeed, instead of keeping his billions in Malaysia , he has stashed them overseas.

KTM land in S’pore

Image result for Daim Zainuddin and Mahathir

With his immense wealth and far-reaching influence, Daim eventually became a burden that Mahathir could no longer bear. In every deal he made, there was something in it for himself. It was not beneath him even to cooperate with Lee Kuan Yew to snatch KTM land in Singapore . The Malaysian Cabinet had no knowledge of this. But this issue of Malaysia being outwitted by Lee Kuan Yew and Daim is far from over.

Mahathir eventually realised that he had to end Daim’s lordship over the Finance Ministry. And so he told him to quit. He  worried that if Daim continued as Finance Minister, complaints would come not only from Vincent Tan, Ananda Krishnan, Arumugam (M’s DIRECT CRONIES) and other members of the Malaysian business elite, but also from foreign leaders.

Signs of a Daim-related scandal were ominous and it could break any time in Japan or Britain, therefore, Daim had to go.

 Daim’s resignation

Daim’s resignation was planned such that it would not appear as if he had been sacked. Indeed, it does not make sense why a powerful Finance Minister, rich and in control of so many public companies, would suddenly quit simply because he had lost interest in the job.

Observers will recall that Mahathir’s first comment on the so-called reaction was, ‘He has asked several times for permission to resign, and I have finally allowed it. I hope Daim would not leave the country after resigning’. That statement was pregnant with meaning. Mahathir knew Daim was sulking. So did Anwar and Sanusi. Mahathir retained Daim as UMNO Treasurer for a good reason, he wanted to ensure the safety of UMNO money, a lot of which was under Daim’s control.

But Daim who holds so many of Mahathir’s secrets, is only a sly one. After resigning, he went to live in his San Francisco residence. He told the Malaysian public he wanted to study at Harvard, but in fact he wanted to leave Malaysia. Mahathir, who was familiar with Daim’s antics, pleaded with him to come back, saying he needed him to advise on economic matters.

Image result for rafidah aziz

Daim returned and announced that Mahathir had named him Economic Adviser to the Government. Rafidah asked Mahathir to confirm this, but all she got was silence. Daim was never formally appointed as Economic Adviser, a post which Tun Raja Mohar once held. The appointment is the prerogative of the Public Services Department. Daim gave himself the job. To keep Daim happy, Mahathir allowed him to open an office at the Economic Planning Unit, and this strengthened the public perception that he was still in control as far as economic affairs were concerned.

Rafidah more honest than Anwar?

When he was to told to resign as Finance Minister, Daim asked Mahathir to appoint Anwar Ibrahim to the job. Obviously, he thought this would help to ensure that his skeletons would remain closeted. He warned Mahathir of the peril that Rafidah would be to both of them: the secrets they shared would be uncovered.

As far as we know, no Finance Minster in this world has retired a billionaire, except Daim. In the book Daim yang Diam: Sebuah Biographi (Daim the Silent: A Biography), Daim explains his retirement: ‘I am happy in retirement. It was too heavy a responsibility. In truth, I love the business world. Business is in my blood. I love to make money. I know how to do it. I can do it just by sitting in this chair. On a lucky day, I can make millions.’

 Friend of Soros

According to an internal bank analysis, collaborated by the corporate community, and from Daim crony Amin Shah, Daim’s wealth, in ringgit and foreign currencies kept overseas currently amounts to RM20 billion.

With so much money at his disposal, Daim can manipulate the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. He showed his hand in 1991, just to prove how much influence he wielded. After selling off his stocks, he made a statement to the effect that the market would crash. And crash it did.

 As we can all recall, even Mahathir could not help but make a wry remark when Daim boasted that he invested in KLSE only for pocket money. But to his good friend, Daim said he could turn in profit on RM90 million a day when the market was up. When the market plummeted in October 1991 Daim bought back his share on the cheap. When the market turned bullish again 1995 and 1996, Daim made billions of ringgit from it.

So it turns out that Soros is not the only big time market manipulator and currency dealer. Daim met Soros twice in London when the ringgit was being hotly traded. Anyway, when the ringgit fell below RM4 to the US dollar, Mahathir asked Daim for help and, according to a source in Singapore, he lost RM1 billion trying to prop up the Malaysian currency. To lose that much in currency trading, imagine how much money he had at his disposal.

Mahathir panicked

The falls in currency and share values put Mahathir in a feverish panic. He knew his policies and his own belligerent attitude were partly to blame. Seeing Mahathir in such a frenzied state, Daim recommended that he declare a state of emergency to enable him to restore the economy and at the same time, bury the corpses that were beginning to stink.

We hail the Chief Secretary to the Government and the Solicitor-General for opposing the move. If Daim’s plan had been followed, Mahathir would turn dictator and the Malaysian economy would be utterly ruined. Having failed to declare an emergency, Mahathir set up the National Economic Action Council, headed by Daim, with the Economic Planning Unit as its Secretariat. Daim also persuaded Mahathir to appoint Mustapha Mohammad as Anwar’s deputy because these two could be depended on to fill up the holes he had left gaping. Anwar is nobody’s fool, but he sacrificed his idealism to protect his towkay.

Eventually, the council became merely an advisory body, with the Cabinet having final say on its recommendations.

 Daim finally found a road-block in Anwar

The establishment of the council was a wedge between Anwar and Daim. Thus, two old friends who had together stood behind Mahathir against Musa were now turned against each other.

 The original plan was to give the NEAC complete autonomy, but the Cabinet ministers opposed this for fear that they would lose any vestige of power they had left.

All of the council’s recommendations were rejected by the Cabinet and Bank Negara. Daim openly assailed Bank Negara for dismissing his proposals, such as those relating to interest rates and credit control.

We salute the Bank Negara Governor (Tan Sri Aziz Taha) for maintaining a prudent monetary policy in the face of Daim’s bullying and insults. Unlike Daim and his cohorts, Bank Negara’s officials are not self-serving.

Daim’s appointment to the NEAC was a major national mistake. Going by press reports of its deliberations so far, the NEAC’s sole preoccupation is with saving mega corporations from bankruptcy. No doubt, these are Daim-related companies.

Daim has yet to show any concern over the rise in the price of chillies, or the leaps in fish prices or how the price of rice has boiled over. Neither has he talked about small businesses in their death throes. Class F contractors going bankrupt or kampung road projects being abandoned. In his dictionary, there are no entries for the small man’s worries, nothing about low-cost houses, water cuts or study funds for the children of poor Malays. In fact, it contains only billion size fi

While the Malaysian economy is close to ruin, Daim remains a billionaire, living a life of glamour, jet setting with his new wife Naimah and the attractive Josephine, an Indian lass who helps him run one of his firms, the International Malaysian Bank.

We have merely given a sketch of who the real Daim is. A thorough account will soon be available in book form. We recommend the book to UMNO members, especially those with big ambitions, because they will learn much from its fantastic but true tales of economic and political intrigues.

We denounce the likes of Vincent Tan and Ting Phek Khiing for land-grabbing, but perhaps we should ask the Menteri Besar of Johor and the Menteri Besar of Kedah how much land Daim has taken.

Ask Sanusi how much Daim paid to the Kedah government for 12,000 acres in Sungai Petani and how much profit he made from them. For 12,000 acres, Osman Arof had to be sacrificed. The true story of the Daim-Sanusi conspiracy in Kedah will be exposed in the book.

UMNO at Crossroads

UMNO is at a crossroads and has to decide wisely where it is going. One road heads to glory, where stability and democratic practice will abide. The other leads to division, autocracy and ultimately, utter destruction.

The call for reform, which used to be made only in whispers at small, secretive gatherings, is becoming louder. UMNO members, showing that they can no longer contain their restiveness and frustration, have begun to openly debate the need for change, even at party conventions.

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The Kaki Ampus (Sycophants) in UMNO with their Provider, Najib Razak

Can there be a clearer indication that they have reached their tether’s end, that they can no longer stomach the leadership’s undemocratic attitude and the prevalence – whether in the party or the government – of favouritism, cronyism, nepotism, graft and other misdeeds? Malay nationalism is dead and materialism and egoism are running amok.

We cannot depend on the UMNO Supreme Council to initiate reform because few of the members have the guts to speak up. In fact, the council has lately been transformed into a monologue theatre. But of course even a monologue can flop without good supporting players – fools, clowns, jesters, attendants and the oh-so- important flatterers.

Can there be a clearer indication that they have reached their tether’s end, that they can no longer stomach the leadership’s undemocratic attitude and the prevalence – whether in the party or the government – of favouritism, cronyism, nepotism, graft and other misdeeds? Malay nationalism is dead and materialism and egoism are running amok.

 We cannot depend on the UMNO Supreme Council to initiate reform because few of the members have the guts to speak up. In fact, the council has lately been transformed into a monologue theatre. But of course even a monologue can flop without good supporting players – fools, clowns, jesters, attendants and the oh-so- important flatterers.

As far as these bit players are concerned, UMNO’s ideals and principles are not as important as their jobs. This keep-your-mouth- shut syndrome serves only to embolden the party leadership in its conceit, arrogance and h au ghtiness. A president has become a dictator. Woe are the Malays and Umno. What is to become of them? That is a question only Umno members can answer.

– Professor Mohamed Zain – Professor of Technology & Strategic Management -College of Business & Economics -University of Qatar









Tengku Razaleigh explains why he remains with UMNO

April  4, 2016

COMMENT: We are free to choose and live with the choices we make. If so, why must we criticise Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for making his choice to remain in UMNO. I am, of course, disappointed that he  supports the incumbent scandal ridden UMNO President.

You must be able to separate the party from its President and his cabal. Tengku Razaleigh belonged to UMNO led by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn. Nobody will deny the achievements of UMNO under these leaders. UMNO today, however, is UMNO Baru  which is a kleptocracy, dominated by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for 22+ years.

After reading this article by FMT reporters, I can understand Tengku Razaleigh’s relationship with former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Finally, we know from the Kelantanese Prince himself that Tun  Mahathir did not treat him well when the former Premier was UMNO President. Why? Because the Tun was afraid of Tengku Razaleigh, and never forgave the man for challenging him for UMNO Presidency in 1987.

I recall a private meeting I had with Tengku Razaleigh in Paris in 1986 when I was a member of his investment promotion mission to France, Norway, Sweden and Finland. At that meeting, I suggested that he should challenge the Tun for the UMNO Presidency. While he did not react to my suggestion, I was glad that he eventually did. He actually won but he was cheated of the Presidency by vote rigging under the watch of then UMNO Secretary-General (Tan Sri Sanusi Junid). Tengku Razaleigh never trusted Tun Dr. Mahathir ever since.

In my view, Tengku Razaleigh is most qualified to be a caretaker Prime Minister, if Najib is removed as UMNO President by his own party. At 78, Tengku Razaleigh  is not “too old”for the job. When I last saw him two years ago at his “White House” residence in Jalan Langgkak Golf, Kuala Lumpur he was in good health.–Din Merican

Tengku Razaleigh explains why he remains with UMNO

by FMT Reporters

UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh has again denied that he was ever aligned with former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad but had only supported certain issues in common.

In a press interview, Ku Li, as he is also known, reiterated he was not part of the Citizens’ Declaration initiated by Dr Mahathir, nor would he sign it, and reiterated that he had no ambitions to be Prime Minister, being “too old” for the post.

He said he previously had the opportunity to move up but he had made way for Dr Mahathir instead. He was referring to his days as the most senior UMNO member in Hussein Onn’s Cabinet and the most senior member of the UMNO Supreme Council, but had allowed Hussein to choose Mahathir as Deputy Prime Minister.

Tengku Razaleigh said he had attended a press conference on October 12 in protest against security charges being used against two of Mahathir’s supporters. “I attended and I made a statement at that press conference. But they immediately labelled me as being with Mahathir,” he told Mingguan Malaysia.“No, when have I ever been with Mahathir?” he asked in the interview.

In the 1980s, Tengku Razaleigh challenged Dr Mahathir for the Umno presidency and was narrowly defeated, resulting in a court case that led to Umno being deregistered. Mahathir formed UMNO (Baru) while Razaleigh went into Opposition with a new party Semangat 46, making alliances with PAS and the DAP. He later disbanded the party and joined the new UMNO.

Tengku Razaleigh’s remarks about Mahathir come in the wake of criticism for supposedly having made a U-turn, by recently declaring support for Najib Razak, after having been regarded as part of Dr Mahathir’s campaign to oust the Prime Minister.

He explained that he had attended the October 12 press conference “with the knowledge that I would be protesting the detention of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang. It so happens that Chang was my lawyer previously.”

Khairuddin and Chang, both staunch Mahathir supporters, were arrested after they sought to lodge reports overseas against the government’s controversial investment arm, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Dr Mahathir has led a year-long campaign to oust Najib, featuring corruption allegations about 1MDB and Najib.

Last week Dr Mahathir accused Tengku Razaleigh of betrayal for declaring support for Najib while also alleging he had tried but failed to get sufficient support for a parliamentary motion against the PM.

Tengku Razaleigh has also been touted as a possible caretaker Prime Minister after forcing Najib to leave. “No, I have been in UMNO way too long and I am too old to become the Prime Minister. I contested in the last election not to go after the prime minister’s position,” he said.

He added that he was “happy” with the way things were now, even without his wife by his side. Puan Sri Noor Yvonne Abdullah died of cancer in June last year at the age of 68. Long time friends, they were married in 1995.

Tengku Razaleigh –The Perennial UMNO Man

March 30, 2016

Tengku Razaleigh –The Perennial UMNO Man

by Scott Ng

UMNO Man to the End

Many people were shocked last Thursday when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah joined other Kelantan UMNO figures in signing a declaration of support for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In retrospect, though, the news should not have been so surprising. More than two weeks earlier, Ku Li did give a hint of where he might be going when he indicated that he would not be party to the Save Malaysia movement of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The Kelantan Declaration effectively declares unconditional support for Najib in his positions as Prime Minister and UMNO President. This has prompted Mahathir to finger Ku Li as the prime mover, months ago, of a plan to table a no-confidence motion against Najib.

To have Ku Li openly support Najib is undoubtedly a massive victory for the Prime Minister as well as Barisan Nasional. This is especially true when one takes into account the reformist credentials of the Kelantan prince, who in 1988 founded Semangat 46 as an alternative to Mahathir’s “Team A” of powerful warlords

Semangat 46 did not perform well in the 1990 general election, and eventually the party was largely re-absorbed by UMNO. But that run cemented the Tengku’s reformist legacy, and one must wonder what Malaysia would look like today had he become our fifth prime minister. There is no doubt it would look very different indeed, but history has already bestowed the victor the spoils.

It would appear that Ku Li is finally shrugging off the legacy that defined him as a politician for decades. No longer with the reformists but with the establishment, he has made the choice to stand with Najib instead of the Save Malaysia movement. Mahathir can snipe all he likes, but the damage is done, and the ultimate winner in this exchange is Najib.

Indeed, Ku Li had finally relinquished his dream of becoming PM when he announced he would not be running in the next election. It is clear that he had no path to that position whichever side he stands on, though one must hear him explain his actual motivations before making assumptions. It may be that Kelantan will finally get the attention it deserves.

Whatever Ku Li’s true intentions are, we will know only when he decides to tell us, and with politicians, that may mean never.

Then Rising Star of UMNO

Regardless, the Kelantan prince bows out of the political scene causing a wave nearly as big as the one Malaysians saw when he campaigned against Mahathir all those years ago, and the Ku Li as Prime Minister we never really got to know becomes another “what if” to followers of Malaysian political history.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah: What’s your deal with Najib Razak?

March 28, 2016

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah: What’s your deal with Najib Razak?

by Mariam Mokhtar

Politicians like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah cause the electorate to lose faith in politics. Affectionately known as Ku Li, he confirms our suspicions of him. He is all spin and no substance. He joins a long list of sycophants who should have had the interests of the rakyat at heart, but at the critical moment, let down the people and himself. Where are the men of integrity and honour?

Ku Li’s betrayal may not matter now, because a majority of the population still cast their votes. In time, this number will drop because they will see politicians as untrustworthy.So, was it emotion, or political expediency which prompted Ku Li to sign the ‘Kelantan Declaration’?

The Citizens’ Declaration of the ‘Save Malaysia’ movement is supported by former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Kelantan Declaration is just a vanity declaration, like a love letter for politicians. It is a tit-for-tat move to distract the rakyat from national issues.

So did Ku Li sign because of his 30-year-old grudge against Mahathir, whom he challenged for the UMNO party presidency in 1987 but lost by a whisker? There were irregularities in voting, and Ku Li’s supporters mounted a legal challenge. The High Court declared UMNO an illegal party and forced Mahathir to form UMNO Baru, and Ku Li, Semangat 46.

Was Ku Li exacting his revenge on Mahathir? Or did Najib Abdul Razak whisper sweet nothings into Ku Li’s ears and promised him a role more prominent than that of a mere MP? He is free to sign the Kelantan Declaration and express his loyalty to Najib, but in the past, why did he have to string some of the rakyat along, and say that he cared?

Ku Li has expressed dissatisfaction with the government on numerous occasions. When asked why he refused to leave UMNO Baru and fight for change from the opposition benches, his answer was always “No!” He claimed to be more effective, fighting for change from within.

His critique of the government convinced some of the opposition that he could be an interim prime minister should GE14 result in a hung parliament, or if the no-confidence vote against Najib had been successful. Some people may remember that at the convocation ceremony of the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), in June 2014, Ku Li moaned about the division of race and religion, the low standards of fluency in English, and Malaysian education.

He reminisced about his teenage years when athletes were selected on their sporting prowess, and Malaysians were united in their support of them, irrespective of their race. He recalled fond memories of Wong Peng Soon, the All-England badminton champion, in 1950 and 1951.Today, he supports the leader of a party which condones division in society.

In 2010, Ku Li said that in the 1980s, the government was spending money like water, and the Defence Ministry would purchase Exocet missiles, at RM2 million each, for target practice.

Why regurgitate these issues?

Why regurgitate these issues, decades later? He once held the portfolio of finance minister, and had to sign the chits, but did not complain about the frivolous spending on the armed forces.

He held two heavyweight ministerial posts, (finance and international trade and industry). His arguments would have carried weight. Why were these matters not highlighted, then?

A few days ago, Mahathir stunned Malaysians with the revelation that Ku Li and a group of UMNO Baru leaders had secretly plotted to oust Najib. Mahathir said, “He (Ku Li) came and met me, and said he wants to push for a no-confidence vote. He said he can get the majority, but he failed.”

The irony is that having been defeated, Ku Li later signed his allegiance to the man he had wanted to topple.How are we to have any confidence in our politicians, if they fail us when they fall at the first hurdle? Where is their persistence, and their moral duty?

On September 16, 2008, former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim failed in his bid to secure enough defections in UMNO Baru to oust the erstwhile PM Abdullah Badawi. Anwar was subsequently demonised by UMNO Baru politicians. Today, the same politicians keep silent about Ku Li’s tactics, which were similar, and also failed.

If there is any threat to the stability and national security of the nation, it is from politicians who have abrogated their duty to serve the rakyat.  Our enemy is not from outside, it is from within. Our enemy is made up of politicians who fail to act against corruption, injustice, and divisive and racist politics.

Members of the political elite want only one thing, to hang on to their seats. And power.You know what you must do in GE14


Mahathir and Ku Li–Failed Leaders in the same pea pod

March 15,2016

Mahathir and Ku Li–Failed Leaders in the same pea pod

By Koon Yew Yin

Over the past 10 years I have written a great deal about national politics and the country’s leadership. In particular I have focused on our Prime Ministers in response to the policies they initiated and the way they have managed the key issues and challenges of our multi-racial society and developing economy.

Besides writing about Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak, I have also written extensively on two political figures who could have become Prime Ministers but never quite made it: Anwar Ibrahim and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also known as Ku Li.

My view of Mahathir has not been charitable: in fact, it will be considered unkind. Most Malaysians, including a majority of Malays today, will agree with me that he is a failed leader who has let down the country badly.

Malaysians of my generation, with longer memories than the current generation, who know of the stability, harmony and prosperity that we enjoyed, as well as experienced the high standards of governance inherited from the British, see the son of Mohamad Iskander Kutty, Mahathir, as the principal cause of our badly dysfunctional economy and society.

The worst legacy of the man regarded as “Bapa Malaysia” by such groups as Perkasa lies not in the form of his cock-ups such as Proton, MAS, Perjawa Steel, and not even in the cronies he favoured, resulting in a disproportionate proportion of the country’s wealth being held by a few.

Perwaja Steel, MAS and even Proton can be erased from the books overnight. Cronies can be compelled to renegotiate their contracts so that national interests are protected.

His legacy is actually the dominant party, Umno, which runs the country and which Mahathir has shaped into a right-wing, Ketuanan Melayu party which has placed Malay special interests above all else.

UMNO is the nation’s bully having  destroyed many of our important institutions such as the judiciary, while sponsiring cronyism, impoverishing our economy, and undermining many of our basic rights and freedoms.

Mahathir is the man who nurtured this bully to what it has become today: an oppressive and irresponsible grouping of UMNO-putras functioning like a baby’s alimentary canal with a healthy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.

Imagine my surprise therefore to read of Mahathir’s resignation from the party he helped transform into a party of patronage and pirates.

When the news reached me, I had emailed friends the following note: I see Dr M has resigned from UMNO. I now have some respect for him and I lost my respect for Tengku Razaleigh.

Since then he has become the main figure in the unveiling of the Citizens’ Declaration which is aimed at getting rid of the current Prime Minister.

There is some talk of broad political reform in the document. But in his latest speeches, it looks like Mahathir does not think there is much wrong with UMNO and he is apparently waiting to return to UMNO the moment Najib leaves the scene.

If that happens, I will have to withdraw my initial reaction of having some respect for Mahathir. I hope that Mahathir gives up completely on UMNO and helps the opposition come to power. That way, he will atone for the mistakes he has made and leave a positive legacy.

Ku Li’s disappearing golden principles

As for Ku Li, I and many of my colleagues had high hopes for him, especially after he came out with his own declaration in the form of Ten Golden Political Principles delivered in an address to the Perak Academy in 2009.

His speech actually spells out the road map for reform in the country more clearly and comprehensively than what Mahathir and the other signatories have come out with recently.

I have spoken and written in support of Ku Li’s Golden Principles on many occasions. But Tengku Razaleigh himself appears to have given up on them. How else can we explain why he has failed to push them in the way that Mahathir has pushed his Citizens’ Declaration?

When we think hard about it, it is clear that whatever political rhetoric they are spouting or declarations or principles they come up with, Mahathir, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and Tengku Razaleigh are hard-core, die-hard UMNO leaders who will never give up on their party voluntarily.

This is why it is difficult to believe that UMNO is capable of reform unless and until it is finally removed from power and sits on the opposition benches.

Koon Yew Yin is a retired civil engineer and one of the founders of IJM Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.