Ku Li says country needs a ‘New Deal’, not ‘1 Malaysia’

By Leslie Lau, The Malaysian Insider

On the eve of the prime minister’s first 100 days in office, Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said tonight that Malaysians should evaluate 1 Malaysia against issues like “the fact of constitutional failure in Perak” and “the stench of corruption” in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

Tengku Razaleigh, who made an unsuccessful bid to contest the Umno presidency, also asked Malaysians to consider the “cynical political plays on racial unity against assurances that national unity is the priority,” when judging the Barisan Nasional (BN) government elected into power last March.

The former finance minister also gave short shrift to the PM’s economic reforms, and argued for a “Malaysian New Deal” without race based considerations in order for the country to be talent-driven and competitive.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak marks 100 days in office as prime minister tomorrow. In that time he has put in place reforms in the capital markets and released a number of Internal Security Act detainees.

But he has also presided over a major crackdown on dissent while the Perak power grab saga continues to be played out.

In recent days, one of his most ardent backers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also began to criticise the current government, particularly on the reversal of the policy to teach science and mathematics in English.

Speaking to public relations consultants at a dinner here tonight, Tengku Razaleigh pointed out that the current government was elected into power on March 8, 2008, and not 100 days ago.

He also argued that Najib had effectively been in power since last year when Tun Abdullah Badawi’s departure schedule had been announced.

“The issues before the present BN government are not transformed overnight with a change of the man at the top,” he said.