The lone voice of genuine reform
JAN 30 — To paraphrase Warren Bennis, leadership is like beauty, it’s hard to define but you know when you come to face one. I’ve little qualm to admit that the Kelantan prince, Tengku Razaleigh or widely known as Ku Li, has it.
I have always thought that my few but close encounters, particularly of late, in the parliament with him allow me to say this with some degree of accuracy. I must admit that being mere mortals all of us have our ups and downs, our idiosyncrasies, our shortcomings, whatever, but I still thaought of him as special.
Today, I stand vindicated. Given the dearth of leaders in Umno/BN, nay the entire nation, Ku Li really stood tall and made a huge mockery of the empty rhetoric of the 1- Malaysia of his President. Ku Li once said “Empty rhetoric breeds contempt and distrust”. Could we agree more?
Incidentally both PAS and PKR (and as well DAP) must equally take heed of this reminder as their dispensing of justice of late, in their own backyard are a far cry from the rhetoric of ‘Justice for All’. It surely leaves a very bad aftertaste to say the least. I’m unable to amplify for the time being, but Khalid’s case seems quite unpalatable to many a well-wisher of Justice. That I must have the courage to say it squarely to all, without fear or favour again.
At a time when the nation faces seemingly unending crises, there’s a lone voice from the backwoods of the rotten-to-the-core-Umno/BN government, who now stood for everything against the whims and fancies of his party. Perhaps like many humiliated and distressed souls of the nation, (this writer included), he now deems it “Enuf is Enuf”.
Lest you think that I’m copious with my accolades for him because he stands for the oil royalty of the PAS-led Kelantan state government and the Kelantanese people, you are wrong again. It wouldn’t have meant much, because that’s almost plain vanilla.
But he now stands to not only fight for the right of Kelantan, but he is also trying to correct the abuses by the federal government in the way they allocate money and grants to the different states, including Sabah and Sarawak. And I should say to the entire federation.
He depicts and betrays his true statesmanship by confirming the offer to lead the parliamentary caucus on oil rights. But best of it all, he now said that the oil caucus is not just about oil. It is to re-examine the relationship between the states and the federal government. “Let us re-examine the agreement in 1948” he quipped.
Are we seeing a star in the gloomy and murky night sky of Malaysia? As the saying goes, only when it is dark, do you see the star.
The deepening of the various racial and religious fault-lines of the Malaysian political landscape is scary to say the least. The systemic rot of critical institutions of the state seems unabated. The economy is nowhere out of the woods, while corruption is as malignant as ever before.
Given these bleak political backdrop, the reform voice of Ku Li is surely most welcomed by the fraternity of the Pakatan Rakyat and most assuring and consoling to the citizenry as a whole. He may now be the target of retribution and hatred from his own party. The entire wrath of his party may descend on him.
But that will truly be the test of a leader. To walk the extra mile. We believe Ku Li has it.
*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.