Tengku Razaleigh's Amanah has sent the speculation mills into overdrive. Has the prince given up on Umno? Or will he now lead the third force?
KUALA LUMPUR: The new organisation set up by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah may signal the Kelantan prince’s disenchantment with Umno, suggested a prominent blogger.
He also believes that the veteran politician will not defend his Gua Musang parliamentary seat under the Barisan Nasional ticket.
In his blog MSOMalaysia, Mohd Sayuti Omar said Razaleigh’s Amanah (Angkatan Amanah Merdeka) reflected his frustration towards Umno and that the latter no longer believes he can reform the party from within.
“The question is what is the purpose of Amanah?
“Will it move to support Umno or go against Umno? Will Amanah that is said to be based on the legacy of Tunku Abdul Rahman forge cooperation with the opposition in the coming election?
“The logic is Razaleigh will not be enthusiastic about leading the NGO if it is not to repair Umno… (but) he has given thought about his future and has lost confidence in Umno. I can see from this that he will not contest under the BN ticket anymore,” he added.
Amanah to lead third force?
Amanah, to be launched this Friday, aims to rekindle the spirit of unity, justice and good governance as espoused by the country’s founding fathers which Razaleigh said is the duty of Umno to preserve.
The Gua Musang MP, however, has been critical towards the ruling party and made statements that Umno has deviated from its original struggle and is now corrupt.
The setting up of Amanah is seen as a platform to pursue this objective while some observers claim that the NGO may potentially be the leading platform for a third force given Razaleigh’s calibre as a respected politician.
A news report quoted Amanah central committee and PAS member Wan Saiful Wan Jan as saying that the NGO will have “prominent leaders” on its committee.
It is understood that the 15-20 member committee will also include leaders from BN as well as Pakatan Rakyat.
“You might be surprised when you see who is in the committee,” Wan Saiful said.
‘Those who lost faith in Najib’
Commenting on the composition of the committee, Sayuti said while there are no details, he is however confident that it will include Umno politicians who have lost faith in the party’s struggle.
“It will also comprise ex-top civil servants who no longer believe in Umno’s struggle and the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
“Who are they (members of the committee)? There are a few Umno veterans with Razaleigh and his loyal supporters. It also includes the children of Umno leaders who no longer believe in Umno, which has gone astray from its original struggle,” added the blogger.
Razaleigh was touted as the best candidate to lead the country next to his former Umno comrade, current Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, and was said to be in talks with Pakatan over such a prospect, but he denied the speculation.
Amanah will be launched at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial here where Razaleigh will be giving his keynote address.
In 1987, Razaleigh, a former finance minister, challenged the then Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the top post.
While Mahathir won the elections with a razor-thin majority, a dissatisfied Razaleigh took the matter to court and Umno was declared illegal.
Mahathir then re-established Umno as Umno Baru, and Razaleigh, who is affectionately known as Ku Li, formed Semangat 46.
Seven years later, he disbanded Semangat 46 and rejoined Umno.
In 2004, he announced his interest for the Umno top post yet again but failed to garner enough nominations to contest the presidency.