By Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member of PAS Central Working Committee.
To paraphrase Warren Bennis, leadership is like beauty, it’s hard to define but you know when you face one. I’ve little qualm to admit that the kelantan prince, Tengku Razaleigh or widely known as Ku Li, has it and is certainly one.
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. Admittedly, being mortals all of us have our ups and downs, our idiosyncrasies, our shortcomings, whatever, but I still thought of him as being special in more ways than one.
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 party’s President. Ku Li once said ‘Empty rhetoric breeds contempt and distrust’. I couldn’t 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 of 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 just 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, nothing spectacular, as that’s almost plain vanilla.
But he now stands to not only fight for the right of kelantan. He now stands 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 should I say the entire federation. The practise of federalism by the Umno/BN is a complete sham and in fact its exact anti-thesis. It is authoritarian democracy at its best. The Umno/BN’s government is about to destroy any semblance of a functional federalism. That is extremely dreadful and heinous.
He depicts and betrays his true statesmanship by confirming the offer to lead the parliamentary caucus on oil right. 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 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 of the least. The systemic rot of critical institutions of the state seems unabated. The economy is not out of the wood as yet, while corruption is as malignant as 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’s may descend on him. Najib is now weighing his options. This will be truly the test for Ku Li as a leader ie to walk the extra mile. We believe Ku Li has it – to be the lone voice of genuine reform from a party that has gone way past 6.30 pm!