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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ku Li loyal to Umno but firm on Kelantan oil royalty

GUA MUSANG, March 13 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today affirmed his loyalty to both Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) but was firm about Kelantan getting oil royalty.

“I am Umno, and will always be Umno,” said Ku Li. — file pic
The Umno veteran has come under fire from his party colleagues over his stand which goes against the BN government decision to only provide a goodwill payment,
“My struggle within Umno is an old one. So there is no reason for me to abandon a struggle that has become synonymous with me,” said the Kelantan prince after launching a Gua Musang BN “Meet the Leadership” event at Bukit Chekati near here, today.
The veteran politician has become a trenchant critic of the Najib Administration’s refusal to pay Kelantan oil royalties, and a voice of reason at a time when the ruling party was being tugged down the path of right-wing politics.
There has been roiling speculation on whether he was going to be sacked by the party’s supreme council or whether he would cross the political aisle and join Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
“I am not the opposition, and anyone who says I am is mistaken.
“I look to the truth, and I wish to translate truth and justice to the people,” he told some 400 of his most loyal supporters.
Tengku Razaleigh said this to clarify his apparently incongruous political stand to the local community as well as Umno Gua Musang members.
“Before this, people only know what they hear on the radio, TV, and newspapers.
“So now, I want to explain to the public, including my colleagues from Umno, that I am staying true to the party.
“No matter how the denounce me, my soul stays with Umno and I stay with Umno,” said the politician popularly known as Ku Li.
Certain quarters in Umno considered Tengku Razaleigh to have had a change of heart, following his move to openly explain the issues in Kelantan’s oil royalty claim at the Sultan Mohamad IV stadium in January.
Some leaders have also gone on to demand that he resign from Umno and vacate his Gua Musang parliamentary seat.
The Umno Supreme Council in its meeting last month said it would leave it to the grassroots to determine the appropriate action to be taken against him.
“I am responsible for explaining to the people because I do not want the rakyat to label me a liar.
“What more when I was the one responsible for drawing up the framework for the legal arrangement concerning oil, as entrusted to me by (the late) Tun Razak,” he said.
On the invitation by PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa for Tengku Razaleigh to throw his lot in with them, Ku Li said he was grateful but added: “I am Umno, and will always be Umno.”
“I have not changed my principles and stand,” he said, before announcing he would be attending a session to explain the oil royalty claim in Terengganu on March 18.
“I will be there on an NGO ticket. It is the same as in Kota Baru before; I was on an NGO ticket there also,” Ku Li explained, before insisting he would not attend any such events if they were organised on a political ticket.
As such, he hoped the whole country, especially the leaders and members of BN and Umno, in particular, understood his declaration today.


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