LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

Ku Li to Lead Pakatan: Replacing an 'Almost PM' with Another?

During the whole ‘Sept 16’ fiasco in early 2010, Independent MP for Bayan Baru Zahrain Mohamed Hashim claimed that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was among eight other BN MPs – Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan), Anifah Aman (Kimanis), Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan), Chua Soon Bui (Bebas-Tawau), Enchin Majimbun (Bebas-Sepanggar), Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (Batu Pahat), Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (Jerantut) and an unnamed MP who “was one of the deputy speakers of the Dewan Rakyat” – who had agreed to crossover to enable the opposition form the federal government in 2008.



The allegation resulted in an exodus by eight PKR leaders starting with Zahrain’s resignation (Feb 12) followed by Penanti assemblyman and former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus (Feb 28), former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim (March 1), Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng (March 1), Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzil Samsuri (March 3), Kulim-Bandar Bahary MP Zulkifli Nordin (March 6), Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong (May 14) and Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan (Jan 29, 2011) .


Tengku Razaleigh dismissed Zahrain’s allegation that he had been approached and coaxed to join PKR, and when reporters asked for his response on the Bagan Baru MP’s claim, the Kelantan prince said, “I do not want to comment on it. I have been with Umno for 48 years. The claim is a tall tale”. He continued by saying “I’m not for sale and not available. If the claim is true, I would have been a leader in PKR.”

It was quite interesting that the veteran politician and former Finance Minister who’s fondly known as Ku Li came out with a rather arrogant statement. The underlying statement insinuates that the Gua Musang MP believes he’s better than Anwar or rather he’s still ‘got it’ and is actually the best guy for the job.



Zahrain Drags Nik Aziz into the Picture


altIt seems like Zahrain is not done yet and he’s let the issue go. More recently he challenged PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat to openly deny that he was involved in a conspiracy to have Anwar replaced as Pakatan Rakyat leader.

"I challenge him to make an open denial that he did not meet Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to invite the Gua Musang MP to cross over to the Opposition," Zahrain said.

According to Zahrain, the issue was not about Ku Li becoming Opposition leader but more of the disillusionment on Anwar by senior leaders of the opposition pact. Apparently, PAS and DAP leaders had come to the realization that Anwar had become a burden to their political struggle, Zahrain said.

Responding to the challenge, Nik Aziz snubbed Zahrain and labeled him as “trash”.

“He doesn’t know me. I don’t know him. People who ‘hop around’ like him are trash,” he told reporters a couple of weeks ago.

.Zahrain’s claim is backed by pro-Umno NGO Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM). Its vice president Omar Saleh said a discussion on the offer to the Ku Li to replace Anwar was said to have involved Nik Aziz.

"JMM learned that Anwar was in the dark about the meeting. We want to know why Nik Aziz hid the meeting from Anwar?" he said.

Omar did not rule out the possibility that the offer was made to Ku Li as Anwar was in limbo as he was facing a sodomy trial at that time.

"...I think something is brewing," he said.



Ku Li: Low Profile Yet Still Venerable



Whether these allegations are true or otherwise, you can’t deny that Ku Li a respectable figure to both side of the political divide. He’s the prime minister we never had, kind of like Anwar. The thing about Ku Li is he’s been keeping a very low profile since his post Semangat 46 days but whenever he comes out to say something people would listen because he always have some critical yet relevant to say controversial as  they may be.


On top of his polemic speeches, the founder of Petronas and former vice president of Umno has been outspoken in issues including the Kelantan oil royalty quandary and Bersih’s demands just to name a few.



Formation of Amanah


With his recent launch of Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) which he is president unveiled his team that included former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat,  former MIC deputy president Datuk S Subramaniam and former Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, former leaders of Sabah and Sarawak – Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing, former PBB leader Datuk Seri Bujang Ulis and former Sarawak deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Daniel Tajem as his deputies.

alt Speaking at its launch at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial, Ku Li said the aim of Amanah is to help the silent majority make their voices heard to break free from political manipulators holding the country at ransom. He said Amanah emphasized on the spirit of sincerity to boost racial ties, as propagated by Tunku, and that the Masjid Negara was a symbol of racial and religious unity.

“People of all races and religion contributed towards the building of the RM10mil mosque – this is Tunku's legacy,” he said.

. Ku Li had always had a strong affiliation with the late Tunku. After all the first Prime Minister, along with another former premier, Tun Hussein Onn (both of whom had fell out with then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) was the one who gave their personal support and endorsement to him during the heydays of Parti Melayu Semangat 46. Perhaps the time is ripe to revive Umno by resurrecting the 1946 spirit of party, the year party was founded by Datuk Sir Onn Jaafar. Perhaps Amanah is BN’s ‘Team B’, somewhat reminiscent of Umno’s ‘Team B’ or ‘Umno 46’ faction which later became Semangat 46 back in the 80s. As usual, Ku Li leaves everyone guessing.



Will Ku Li Make a Surprise Comeback?


Headstrong , belligerent, and always the gentlemen, Ku Li would be Umno’s last hope and the savior of the party which have become more and more decadent of late. Hell, he could even be the savior of this corruption-plagued country for all you know.

altMalaysian Digest recently ran a poll (click here) to find out if people would like Ku Li to be the next prime minister. 31.5 percent said ‘Yes’ while 36.3 percent said ‘No’ and 33.2 percent said ‘Maybe’. Almost equally divided in three-ways I’d say. He still has a fighting chance whether as leader of Umno-BN or PKR-Pakatan, or maybe some other party besides these two rival coalitions. Always keeping it on the down low, you’ll just never know what surprises Ku Li have in store for us. But so far I like his resume, his style and his band of leaders whom he had picked as his deputies in Amanah.





*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.









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