KUALA LUMPUR: Only time will tell which Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah everyone is talking about, said a veteran newsman in his latest blog posting.
“A saviour, a reformist, a wolf in sheep’s skin or simply a prince who craves for the crown?”
Former New Straits Times Group Editor-in-Chief Kadir Jasin noted the Gua Musang MP had been quoted as saying that when it came to governance, no one could accuse him of inconsistency.
“I am confident that nobody can accuse me of inconsistency in my stand on governance, public responsibility and the need for change,” the veteran newsman quoted Razaleigh as saying.
“He said that ‘this has been the theme of his struggle nationally and in Umno since 1987’.”
In a meeting he had with Razaleigh at the height of his no confidence campaign against Najib, Kadir said the Kelantan prince shared his vision for the future, which was revolutionary to say the least.
Among other things, he wants the prime minister’s post to be universally decided and for Parliament to be answerable directly to the people, said the veteran newsman.
“Although he did not participate in the Deklarasi Rakyat, the same ideals are broadly embodied in it.”
Razaleigh’s “about-turn”, Kadir said, did not come as a complete surprise to him for two key reasons.
Firstly, he has known Razaleigh and was aware of his modus operandi since the early 1970s when the latter was the chairman of Fleet Group (the original Malaysian owner of the New Straits Times Press) and president of the Malay Chamber of Commerce.
“I was then an economic reporter for Bernama.
“I visited him regularly in Kota Bharu in the late 1970s when he was spearheading the development of the state after the 1977/78 takeover by Umno.”
Secondly, said Kadir, he had been warned by many people, including those who had dealt with Razaleigh over a long period of time, that for him self-preservation came first.
“Crudely put, he could not be trusted to march with the masses.”
One of his former operators said Razaleigh could not get rid of his princely habit of always wanting to be served, added Kadir, and waiting to be “crowned”.
There could be another reason, something less sinister, as unlikely as it would appear to a lot of people, ventured Kadir.
“He could have entered into a secret agreement with Najib. Besides meeting with the Rulers, he’s known to have met the prime minister secretly abroad.”
Kadir said, there are other possibilities that could have persuaded the Gua Musang MP to make an about-turn.
“Consider the following possibilities: his no confidence move against Najib came to nothing; he could not get enough commitment from Dewan Rakyat members, via statutory declarations, to convince the House and the Agong to act against Najib.
“He has also found other ways of removing the prime minister.”
Indeed, if Razaleigh was serious about finding “a quick settlement to the current problems of governance and leadership”, as was reported by The Star newspaper on Tuesday, he would do one of the following two things, said Kadir:
He would form a national unity government comprising all political parties and representatives of civil society organisations, or call for an early general election so that the people can choose a new government that was capable of quickly and amicably settling all problems pertaining to governance and leadership.