The 23rd of February, 2020 was one of the longest Sunday Malaysia had seen. Two days had gone by since the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council had taken place and rumours of discord from behind the closed doors spread like wildfire. While the official statement declared that the members of the council had agreed to place their trust into Mahathir’s hands regarding the date of his resignation, speculations of dissatisfactions and demands unmet during the meeting were running rampant.
Sunday came, and with it rolled in a thousand and one explosions as the news dropped us bombshells after bombshells. Ministers are said to be cleaning up their desks, political parties are hosting impromptu meetings across the nation and before the dust could settle from the late, late night excitements, a short press statement dropped onto our laps on the very next day, announcing the prime minister’s resignation, effectively dissolving the Cabinet in one swoop. And as the crème de la crème, PPBM announced that they have decided to leave the Pakatan Harapan coalition, shattering the fledgling government as they lose their majority in the Parliament.
We were told that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had appointed Mahathir as the interim prime minister while awaiting the appointment of the next one and naturally, the question that is now in everyone’s mind is: “Who will be the next prime minister?”.
From the snippets of news that I’ve gathered on the many ongoing interparty meetings, it seems highly likely that our new leader would hail from the new coalition, Perikatan Nasional (I am still not over the fact of how beautifully this name echoes another moment in our history when people from different groups set aside their differences for the future of our nation). And the three names which are gaining traction among the people are Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tan Sri Muhyidin Yassin and Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
In the days leading towards the 14th General Election, there were many voices proclaiming that they seek a veteran leader who have collected wisdom throughout the years with a wealth of experience under their belt. People are searching for someone who could help improve and expand Malaysia’s then booming economy to its best potential. Freelancers and the new wave of online entrepreneurs, who themselves are stepping into uncharted territory, and executives alike are looking for a capable financing expert who could lead the country into the much awaited year of 2020.
At the same time, the people are also setting their hearts on a leader who would place the people as their main priority. Among the speculations and accusations of corruption and a sense of worldwide social awakening, voters were careful in their search for someone who would not abandon nor exploit the everyday man but instead give them the opportunity, guidance and assistance so they too could serve the country in their respective fields. They want a prime minister who would make every Malaysian proud to say “This man is our leader and he cares for us”.
Judging from these concerns, my eyes are set on UMNO’s Gua Musang MP, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, affectionately known as Ku Li.
As the Father of Malaysia’s Economy, he was the mastermind behind the establishment and implementation of a number of key foundations and policies in our economy, many of which we are still relying heavily on to this day. Even before he served the country as a full minister, Ku Li had lead a number of economical initiatives including the building of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad, PERNAS and PETRONAS.
After receiving the post as the Minister of Finance and later Minister of Trade and Industry, he continued his focus on expanding the economy and improving the financial status of the people through the formation of PNB, which had brought many small local entrepreneurs and professionals to participate directly in the country’s economical growth, and many others. His efforts in the Malaysian and ASEAN Chamber of Commerce did not simply earn him the respect and affection of the people, but he also garnered international acknowledgement and recognition which earned him the title “Father of Malaysian Economic Development”.
Behind the limelight of national and international acclamation, Ku Li is a simple statesman who is well loved by the people of his constituency, where he had served for more than three decades. His popularity among the people had kept him as the longest serving member of our parliament. Despite his royal background, being the great-uncle of the current Sultan of Kelantan, he is known to be seen with the people who calls him “Ku Kita”, or The People’s Prince, titles well-earned.
It is true that the cloud of dust is still hanging in the air after the fall of the still green Pakatan Harapan government and there is no sure way of telling what would happen next. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that based on the character prerequisite given by the people, Ku Li is the man best fit for the role of our next prime minister based on his capability and experiences. It is also my hope to see someone as sure footed, strong of mind and with as good a presence of self as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah leading our country back into the Tiger Economy.