PETALING JAYA: An analyst has urged Barisan Nasional (BN) to decide on its candidate for opposition leader before the Parliament sitting next month, saying the person should be able to take on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Independent political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said according to seniority in Umno, the candidate should be acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein.
“But there are suggestions for Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah) or even Khairy Jamaluddin to be the opposition leader, as the latter is seen as the new face of Umno,” Kamarul told FMT.
He said Tengku Razaleigh, now 81, had the skills and knowledge to take on Mahathir.
“Ku Li was in the opposition from 1989 to 1996 under Semangat 46, so the opposition leader’s post should be something he is familiar with.
“Moreover, he used to cooperate with PAS, which is now in the opposition with the second largest number of MPs in Parliament. So, PAS wouldn’t have much of a problem working with him, either,” he said.
Kamarul said when Tengku Razaleigh disbanded Semangat 46 in 1996, there had been an understanding between him and Mahathir that he would be given a ministerial post.
However, Mahathir did not offer him the post after reading comments in an interview between Tengku Razaleigh and the foreign media in 1996, Kamarul added.
He said Umno Supreme Council member Nazri Aziz had suggested that Khairy be made the opposition leader to inject new life into the coalition.
“There are four names. BN really needs to come up with a decision on who it wants before Parliament starts.”
The coming Dewan Rakyat session will take place beginning June 25.
Semangat 46 was formed by Tengku Razaleigh’s “Team B” faction of Umno to challenge Mahathir, who was then prime minister and Umno president.
Razaleigh had the personal support of former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn, both of whom had fallen out with Mahathir as well.