KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak’s appointment as the new Barisan Nasional (BN) advisory board chairman possibly marks the return of warlords, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today.
However, the Umno veteran said this was most likely a passing phase.
“Maybe (the warlords are emerging). I think this is just a passing phase and maybe this is a test for all of us.
“After all, Umno does not belong to members alone but also the community.
“It’s the same thing with BN. Leaders come and go,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today when asked to comment on Najib’s appointment.
Razaleigh, who is Gua Musang MP, did not hide his surprise over the latest development.
“It was also a surprise to me because I was not informed earlier that this was going to happen.
“But it is good. He is an active member of Umno, a member of BN and he has a lot of experience as a former leader of BN.
“I think we can get some of his practical experience to pass on to us in the light of the problems we face today,” he said.
On whether the Pekan MP ’s appointment would help revive Umno, Razaleigh said everybody would have to revive Umno, including those who were not members.
Asked whether Najib would be able to play his role effectively, Razaleigh asked why not, adding that everybody’s support was needed.
Razaleigh said even though the former BN chairman faced numerous money laundering and corruption charges, “there is nothing wrong with him being formally made adviser to BN”.
“Even if he is not, people will take heed of what he says.”
Tengku Razaleigh expressed confidence that Najib would not be a liability even with the court charges he is facing.
“Everyone can give their views. We will see if he is a liability or not. But to us, all views and advice are precious and of value and we will use them to help the party,” he said.
On how BN and Umno could start anew when former leaders were facing charges in court and had yet to clear themselves, Razaleigh said in due time these leaders would clear themselves.
He said such problems were not unique to Umno and other parties also faced similar problems.
When asked why BN and Umno, having the opportunity to start anew, had chosen an old leader, Razaleigh said: “I suppose the name still rings in the ear. So we will see. The election is another 3 1/2 years away. So, we still have the time.”
On the likes of former BN secretary-general Mohamed Nazri Aziz saying he was not happy with Najib’s appointment, Razaleigh said these people had their own reasons.
“We are going to be tested on what kind of advice we should accept,” he said, responding to the Padang Rengas MP’s earlier remarks that the move to appoint Najib was regressive and that BN had lost in the last polls under Najib’s leadership.