Ku Li-Anwar, ideal pair to lead Malaysia

FMT LETTER: From Natesan Visnu, via e-mail

The current talk of Tengku Razaleigh (Ku Li) for Prime Minister has created sensation among Malaysians. The possibility of Pakatan Rakyat forming the new government with 25 MPs from BN dissatisfied with Najib’s leadership crossing over and requesting Ku Li to lead the pact for Putrajaya has reignited the interest in Malaysian politics after the General Election No. 13 disappointment. Ku Li as Prime Minister?

With the recent developments, Najib or Anwar, now we have a seasoned ‘new’ player in Ku Li for Malaysia’s top office. Najib is wrestling for dominance internally and externally. With weak component parties, domestic power struggle to retain his post as Umno’s president, opposition’s dominance on popular votes; it’s hard to predict Najib’s political future. Anwar has united Malaysians and weakened BN’s dominance with his reformation agendas.

Echoing on Mahathir’s blog, the Malay chooses to support Umno despite their dissatisfaction within Umno leadership is due to Malay sentiments. On that note, for PR to really ‘win’ this election, they need to consider the idea of electing Ku Li as Prime Minister. In the past, PR has always backed Anwar to become the Prime Minister. But the political landscape has changed and Ku Li’s influence within Umno and PAS could be capitalised to favour PR and the ‘rakyat’.

Why Ku Li?

Ku Li is no stranger to Malaysian politics. He has an excellent track record serving government since 1960s. Due to his contribution and excellence leadership, he was made Minister of Finance (1976), Chairman of Asian Development Bank (1978), Chairman of Islamic Development Bank (1978) and Chairman of World Bank and IMF (1977). He was also responsible for setting up and developing PERNAS to uplift the poor Malays and reform Malaysian economy. He had a short fall back with Haw Par imbroglio in the 70s but managed to bring Sime Darby and London Mining Company back to Malaysian’s control.

He worked along with Mahathir and Khalid Ibrahim for the famous ‘Dawn Raid’ to wrench back Guthrie from the British. The ‘Dawn Raid’ marks the beginning for Mahathir’s era where Malaysians taught Thatcher’s led government a lesson by not being arrogant and the Brits were ashamed internationally with the tactical takeover. Apart from that, Ku Li was also responsible for the take over and formation of new business for various sectors; Mining (take over London Mining Company), banking (formation of Maybank), etc. His visit to China in 1971 resulted in an increase of trading with China from RM105.6 million (1971) to RM 1.6 billion (1980).

In 1974, Tun Abdul Razak said ““From among the new blood, I intended to bring Tengku Razaleigh into the Cabinet. However, I have an important job for him, a job as important as that of a Cabinet Minister. I have decided to appoint him as Chairman and Chief Executive of Petronas, which is equivalent to being a Cabinet Minister”. The rest they say is history. Today Petronas is a Fortune 500 company and the largest contributor for Malaysian revenue. Quoting from Mahathir’s memoir, if Razaleigh had been patient, maybe he would be Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Ku Li and Anwar leadership

With Ku Li’s experience and Anwar’s reformation, the duo would be the ideal pair to lead Malaysia. Both have similarities in their political career, both rose within Umno rank at young age, both have experience opposing Mahathir, both have experience as Finance Minister and both were Prime Minister material. In the past, Ku Li has worked closely with DAP and PAS opposing BN. However, he disbanded Semanget 46 and rejoined Umno. Ku Li has always maintained a good reputation within Umno and he is seen as a wise politician. He still commands wide support at grass root level.

In every crisis there will be an opportunity, PR has that opportunity now with Ku Li. Capitalising on Ku Li’s influence, PR could pave their way to Putrajaya. Ku Li and Anwar could form the new government and spearhead the changes that every Malaysian aspires for. Ku Li as Prime Minister and Anwar as Deputy Prime Minister would be ideal for Malaysia’s transformation and paradigm shift. Both leaders has advocated on many reform ideas and it’s the time for both them to realise their ideologies.

Critics on Ku Li

The critics would argue on the basis that Ku Li has not demonstrated his loyalty in the past by rejoining Umno. In politics, the main concept is to serve for the people. Ku Li despite being with Umno now has questioned the government on issues related to Petronas royalty payment to Kelantan state government. He has been a neutral critic on government policies even after rejoining Umno. He has been sidelined from mainstream politics since his departure from Umno. The country has lost a credible leader that has been part of shaping the Malaysian politic and economy landscape since 1960s.

Due to political reasons, he could not continue to serve for Malaysia and we have lost a great talent. This is the right time to use two great political leaders to reform Malaysia and prepare the younger leaders for future. On that note, Ku Li and Anwar would the perfect choice to lead the country and PR has an opportunity once again to deliver the Malaysian dream. The ‘rakyat’ waits in anticipation for the political direction of this country. The ball is in PR’s court.