by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2014
If the country’s first prime minister was still alive today, he would curse everybody because of the lack of leadership that has led to the present state of the nation, a former finance minister said today.
Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also known as Ku Li, said the late Tunku Abdul Rahman would have been very upset with what people are saying and doing as this was counter to everything he believed in.
“He would curse everybody. (What is happening) completely counters what he advocated. He wanted peace.
“He was a man of peace and he nurtured harmony and he liked people to help one another no matter what racial, religious or cultural backgrounds they have. That was Tunku,” Ku Li told reporters in Penang today.
On why the Tunku met with obstacles and challenges from within Umno despite his noble beliefs and struggles for the nation, Ku Li said the founding father and his detractors were from different times.
“Maybe they were from different times and were brought up differently.
“Some people generally have an inferiority complex, and they use all these points to exploit the situation,” said Ku Li.
Popularly referred to as the Father of Independence, Tunku faced criticism from Umno, as well as from successor Tun Abdul Razak, in the years after the nation’s split with Singapore in 1965 and the racial riot on May 13, 1969.
He was forced to step down as prime minister in favour of Razak on September 22, 1970, and as Umno president the following year after being opposed by younger leaders.
One of those younger leaders was Malaysia’s fourth prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was expelled from Umno by the Tunku in 1969 and accepted back into Umno in 1972.
Ku Li attributed the situation in the country today to a lack of leadership because the people in such position are not exercising the leadership role given to them.
“That is what people are telling me… that is why there is a falling apart of respect and regard for authority.
“There are certain times when leaders must be prepared to be unpopular, where they must put their foot down… there are certain things that are beyond the bounds of even expression.
“You may have your freedom of speech but there is a limit to what you can say,” he said calling it a case of applying some common sense.
“If people are allowed to go on a ‘merry-go-round’, free to say and do as they like, all hell will break loose.
“When leaders do not put their foot down and control the situation, that would mean they are not smart enough as they fail to see the dangers faced by society,” he added.
Ku Li said he felt people were raising many questions nowadays because they were not happy or comfortable with the situation of the country.
“I am also responding because I have heard these noises and the remarks which really does not make it comfortable nor good for society,” he said.
Referring to DAP assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer’s “Umno celaka” and the reactions it caused, Ku Li said some groups tend to be extreme in their views and actions.
However, to be fair, he said there are also those who provoke these people, knowing fully well there are extreme elements within any particular grouping.
“Why do you land yourself in such possibilities by making provocative remarks?
“I don’t sympathise with those who take the law into their own hands. This is a society with laws and nobody can do what they feel like doing. We can’t have anarchy,” he said.
A copy of “Enduring Truths from Statements and Words of Al-Marhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj Our Beloved Founder of Our Nation”. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 30, 2014.A copy of “Enduring Truths from Statements and Words of Al-Marhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj Our Beloved Founder of Our Nation”. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 30, 2014.Ku Li dismissed any notion of degradation in the quality of elected members of Parliament and state assemblymen as they were elected by the people.
“Are you saying that the people are stupid?” he said, adding that the leaders of these groups should educate their members.
On whether the country needs to go back to the roots of what Tunku tried to advocate, Ku Li said both yes and no.
Earlier, Ku Li launched a book in honour of the Tunku entitled “Enduring Truths from Statements and Words of Al-Marhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj Our Beloved Founder of Our Nation”.
The book, which is a compilation of Tunku’s words and remarks, was launched to mark the anniversary of his 111th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the Penang Goodwill Council this year.
In his keynote address at the launching ceremony, Ku Li said the book is “without doubt a most useful collectible as our founding father is without peers and has been assured of a place in Malaysian as well as world history.”
He added that it was a good source of information on Tunku for the nation’s youth.
Tunku Abdul Rahman was born on February 8, 1903, and died on December 6, 1990, at the age of 87 in Kuala Lumpur. – May 30, 2014.