Why must I go crawling to Mahathir, asks Ku Li

Tengku Razaleigh was replying to a question on whether he would have visited Mahathir if he was acting Umno president.

(FMT) – Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says he would not have “gone crawling” to Dr Mahathir Mohamad if he was the party’s acting president.

“Why should I? Why must I go crawling to him? He is from a different party. He has left our party which he formed with Anwar Ibrahim,” he said at his residence today, when asked if he would have visited Mahathir if he was the Umno acting president.

The question was a reference to the visit that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the acting Umno president, had made to Dr Mahathir last week.

Razaleigh, familiarly known as Ku Li, said he would not want to comment on Zahid’s visit.

“People have also asked me why he met up with Mahathir to seek advise on how to run Umno? That is his right,” he said.

Asked if he held grudges against Mahathir, Tengku Razaleigh replied: “No nothing. I have nothing against him.”

He added that Mahathir was an old friend and “he is special”.

Mahathir no longer a dictator?

Tengku Razaleigh does not believe Mahathir to be the “changed man” as so many admirers and former critics have said.

He said Mahathir remained the same.

“(He is the) same, but wearing a different shirt, because the old clothes have worn out. He was like that 23 years ago, he was like that 22 years ago, I think he is like that now,” he said. Mahathir was prime minister from 1981 to 2003.

Tengku Razaleigh said to take a look at Mahathir’s newly formed PPBM as an example.

“You just see the line up of the party that was only just born but heads the government in Kedah, Perak, heads the government in Johor and elsewhere, and you see the number of seats they have in Cabinet,” he said.

(PPBM holds 13 seats out of Pakatan Harapan’s 116, but holds three Cabinet positions as well as the premiership.)

Asked if people would eventually realise that Mahathir has not changed: “I don’t know, it’s up to the people, it’s not for me to say.”

Tengku Razaleigh, 83, is the longest-serving member of Parliament, representing Gua Musang since 1986.

A former finance minister, he had served in Mahathir’s first Cabinet.

Mahathir, 93, returned to power last month as the head of Pakatan Harapan after having left Umno in 2016 and forming a new party, PPBM.