UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has emerged as a new player to wrest federal power from Perikatan Nasional, which enjoys only a razor-thin two-seat majority.
Sources in Umno said Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li, has been meeting his own party leaders, as well as those from Parti Warisan Sabah, Amanah and DAP to gain support for the plan.
He has also been seeking support from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Sources told The Malaysian Insight that in the past few weeks, two meetings have taken place between these two political giants, once sworn enemies.
“They have met twice recently and discussions included forming an understanding together,” a source said.
Adding fuel to the cooperation theory is a photograph circulating on social media showing Tengku Razaleigh, Dr Mahathir, his wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, and Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
An aide to Tengku Razaleigh said the photograph was taken during a dinner at the Kelantan prince’s house a month ago.
Another source close to Dr Mahathir’s new party Pejuang, said the cooperation between the two came about as both are against the leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
“They used to not see eye to eye but now they have a common goal,” the source said.
An Umno source added that Muhyiddin-led Bersatu’s bullying in PN against Umno, including in the tussle over the Sabah chief minister post last month, led Tengku Razaleigh to act fast.
“Tengku Razaleigh does not like Muhyiddin as there are many things done unilaterally without discussing with Umno. This has angered the veteran leader,” the source said.
The 11-term Gua Musang MP is still holding on to the belief he could be prime minister, said another source.
Once sworn enemies, sources say Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Dr Mahathir Mohamad are now coming together as both mutually dislike PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership. – Facebook pic, October 16, 2020.
Astro Awani reported that Tengku Razaleigh has 24 out of Umno’s 39 MPs supporting him for the top post, including the likes of current Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, as well as Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“The Ku Li movement has greater support among Umno MPs. At least 24 of the 39 Umno MPs support him as the prime ministerial candidate,” Awani quoted a source as saying.
The Malaysian Insight learnt this was among the topics discussed when Tengku Razaleigh had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Tuesday.
Interestingly, his meeting with the king came just after Anwar Ibrahim’s meeting earlier in the day.
Anwar was granted an audience with the Agong to present a list of MPs whom he said supported him.
Hours after the audience, the palace said the PKR president merely informed Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah of the number of MPs he had but did not furnish the list of names.
Istana Negara said Sultan Abdullah advised Anwar to act according to the constitution.
Sources said Tengku Razaleigh is also confident his collaboration with Dr Mahathir will be able to garner support from Warisan, Amanah and even DAP lawmakers.
“Tengku Razaleigh is still with Umno but his leadership will be accepted by DAP,” another source said.
DAP is worried about working with a faction of Umno facing criminal charges, such as party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former president Najib Razak.
Both these leaders are believed to have backed Anwar in his quest to become prime minister.
“There are two schools of thought among the grassroots. One is an outright rejection of working with anyone from Umno. The other thinks there are some elements within Umno who are acceptable.
“Either way, working together with Umno is a ‘no’ across the board,” a DAP leader said.
However, with Tengku Razaleigh throwing his hat in the ring, it changes things for DAP as the 83-year-old is seen as a clean and respected statesman more palatable to party grassroots.
“If such an alignment is to take place, it must be done in an open, honest and transparent manner in terms of governing objectives and key deliverables in government that are consensual compromises.
“It must not be a closed-door deal,” the DAP source added.
Amanah vice-president Salahuddin Ayub also met with Tengku Razeleigh after the latter’s audience with Sultan Abdullah.
The Malaysian Insight understands that Amanah is open to back Tengku Razaleigh if the Gua Musang MP manages to gather enough numbers.
Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya says the Tengku Razaleigh-Dr Mahathir combination would not get far as they do not have public support. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, October 16, 2020.
No public support
However, Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the Tengku Razaleigh-Dr Mahathir combination would not get very far as they do not have public support.
“People do not want Dr Mahathir at all in the picture. It would not get the support of the people.
“This is only a move by Dr Mahathir to clearly block Anwar from becoming prime minister,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
The political scientist added that Tengku Razaleigh, who is chairman of the Umno advisory council, has no grassroots support in the party and will not be able to sway many lawmakers to be with him.
“He has no following in Umno. This will pose a problem even if Umno lawmakers are thinking of it. The majority in Umno not in favour of PN also rejects this combination,” he said.
Last week, The Malaysian Insight reported that Umno was split, with one group being happy with PN and another – mostly leaders with graft charges – against them wanting to quit the makeshift coalition.
Umno this week threatened to pull out of PN if the party’s terms were not met. Party secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said the terms will be spelt out in writing to Muhyiddin and has to be expedited as soon as possible.
Muhyiddin’s PN government has been in power since March.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
Source : Malaysia Chronicle
Dr M and Ku Li join forces to take down Anwar
Three men may determine what happens in Putrajaya in the coming weeks.
Two harbour hopes of becoming the next prime minister whereas the third has been prime minister twice.
Umno veteran leader Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are basically staring down each other for the premiership while former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thrown his support behind one of them.
It is quite evident by now that Razaleigh, or Ku Li as he better known, and Dr Mahathir have joined forces to stop Anwar from claiming the prime minister job.
“We are looking at the coming together of two former adversaries to defeat Anwar,” said Azmi Anshar, a media consultant and an insider to recent political developments.
A group photo of Dr Mahathir, Ku Li and Dr Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali (Ku Li and Siti Hasmah are holding hands, by the way) has been making the rounds.
The message they are sending out is that despite their problematic history, the two men have bonded over a common enemy.
They are old rivals but also equals in a way – Dr Mahathir calls Razaleigh “Li” while Razaleigh is one of the very few politicians around who addresses the elder man as “Mahathir”.
Azmi said the publication of Razaleigh’s letter urging the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to expedite a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that Dr Mahathir had submitted back in March was a deliberate move.
“It was done with a purpose. At one level, it is aimed at Muhyiddin. At another level, it is to clear the air and dispel claims out there that his audience with the King was in support of Anwar.
“Ku Li is not with Anwar. He is telling Anwar and Muhyiddin that the constitutional way out of the impasse is to put the numbers to a test in Parliament,” said Azmi.
According to Azmi, Ku Li may be looking to form a “unity government” comprising political parties as well as individual MPs.
There is a big Malay power play going on and it involves several groups, each pushing their own agenda and objective.
Apart from the Anwar takeover bid and the Mahathir-Ku Li blockade, Umno is flexing its muscles in the background.
Umno’s threat to pull out of the Perikatan Nasional government was only part of the story coming from the party’s political bureau meeting on Wednesday.
It is learnt that Umno has issued a multi-pronged ultimatum to the Prime Minister.
The first demand is to appoint a deputy prime minister from Umno on the grounds that the party is the biggest in the ruling coalition.
It is obvious that the demand is to position the party for the top job after the next general election.
The second demand is for a mini Cabinet reshuffle to accord more “grassroots portfolios” to Umno.
Umno also wants the Prime Minister to set up a presidential council so that all parties can give input on important policies.
Umno leaders have been unhappy about what they regard as inconsequential portfolios given to its ministers while Bersatu ministers were given portfolios like rural development and agriculture.
“We were patient but we won’t be bullied anymore. What happened in Sabah was an important lesson.
“They (Bersatu) took our seats, they put independents against us, then they took the Chief Minister post,” said an Umno warlord from Melaka.
An Umno insider said the deputy prime minister post need not necessarily go to party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“From what I understand, the party has indicated that it should go to “someone senior” and who has the experience for the job.
“It could be Zahid, Mat Hasan (deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan), Ismail Sabri (vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri) or even Datuk Seri Annuar Musa,” said the insider.
Johor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the tough stance his party president has taken of late has “100 per cent support” from the party grassroots.
“This is not about his court case. Zahid has tried to accommodate the government but from now on, we want him to be firm about what the party wants,” said Nur Jazlan.
Umno leaders at the political bureau meeting were reluctant to confirm it, but it was learnt that Zahid admitted issuing a “support letter” to Anwar for the latter’s audience with the King.
The meeting accepted his explanation that it was a “tactical move” to show Umno can be the kingmaker and that without Umno MPs, neither side will have the numbers to form the government.
“It has been a crazy week in politics. Now we know who our friends and enemies are, as well as the frogs and snakes,” said Umno supreme council member and Kok Lanas assemblyman Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad.
Like many in Umno, Alwi was taken aback by Ku Li’s move.
Ku Li is an adviser to Umno, but the party was not in the loop about what the Kelantan prince was up to.
But that is Ku Li – he has a mind of his own and is not afraid to say and do what he thinks is right.
The irony about Ku Li and Anwar is that the premiership has been that elusive dream for both.
Or as Alwi put it, the pair “kena game” by Dr Mahathir. By that, he meant that Dr Mahathir had “played out” the two men at certain chapters of their career.
The Malay power play is still unfolding and the end is not in sight.
However, things may reach a critical juncture during the Budget session of Parliament when Muhyiddin will need to muster the votes to get Budget 2021 approved.
A perfect storm is swirling around Muhyiddin. The seasoned politician has weathered many storms, but can he ride out through this one?
Source : Straights Times