Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ku Li losing UMNO's presidency - a different story?

Love him or hate him, that’s Dr Mahathir.

Regarding his most recent book, ‘A Doctor in the House’, those who love him have crooned over his recounting of interesting events like Ops Lalang (which he claimed he was against), his asserted anti-ISA stand, Anwar Ibrahim’s alleged ‘escapades’, LKY's fantasy, and the missed chance of Tengku Razaleigh (Ku Li) in the 1987 UMNO presidential election, etc.

His supporters no doubt would have nodded in approval at the self-authored vindication of his conduct as PM, while his detractors naturally sneered at what they described as a brazen hypocritical attempt to white-wash his sinister record.

I personally believe the ‘Truth’ lies somewhere in between, though I have to decline defining ‘Truth’ because, unlike mathematics, it has various hues according to who views it ('Truth', that is).

Anyway, I won’t bother to touch on salacious stuff like the alleged Kenny Hill romp. Instead I will pass on what I learnt from my uncles about Ku Li in the UMNO civil war at that time (24 April 1987) when both Dr M and him went for broke in the UMNO party contest to be president and consequently the PM of Malaysia.

Of course I can’t vouch for the ‘Truth’ of the story I’m about to write, but as the Italians would say 'Se non è vero, è ben trovato' meaning 'Even if it’s not true, it’s a good story'.

In his just published memoirs, Dr Mahathir claimed, as reported by The Malaysian Insider that
Ku Li’s impatience cost him the PM’s post.

But my uncles told me otherwise, that Ku Li's monumental loss was due to two factors.

The first, probably the minor one, had to start off with the telling that Ku Li was then UMNO’s treasurer. Due to his amazing efforts, he was responsible for having a new impressive UMNO building built [don’t know whether it’s the same one today?] It was a proud moment for UMNO, but alas, like Australians, UMNO members didn’t like a ‘tall poppy’.

The term ‘tall poppy’ means a person of real ability and commendable merits but who is resented and usually attacked and criticized because his achievements has put him significantly above his peers. Thus such a 'tall poppy' has to be chopped down. With the erection of the new UMNO building, Ku Li unfortunately became a ‘tall poppy’ to some.

Apparently, believing it would benefit his election prospects, it was said he arranged for the party assembly (election) to be held at the new building, perhaps to remind party delegates of his achievements as party treasurer through the high visibility of the impressive new 'monument'.

But some of his mates warned him the UMNO members might not take kindly to this, and could well vote against him. Hmmm, would that be a reflection of some members' resentment of a man they saw as not sufficiently humble enough to be a good Malay and therefore not fit to lead them, or was it just plain jealousy of a ‘tall poppy’? Who knows?

Hah, now we now come to the second factor, centred around a young bloke by the name of Najib Razak ;-). He had just become the party's acting Youth Chief, when his predecessor Anwar Ibrahim wakakaka vacated the post to stand for election as a party VP.

The story went that Najib was initially in Ku Li’s camp, with a voting bloc which would have seen Ku Li nicely into the party presidential post - remember, Ku Li lost by a mere 43 votes! But alas, it was said that Najib changed side at the last minute, and the rest is UMNO and Malaysian history.

My uncles remembered reading in the newspapers how Najib subsequently went to elaborate attempts to 'honour' Dr Mahathir, with a public show of fealty when the latter came back from an overseas trip. All the trappings and paraphernalia of Malay feudalistic honours and pledges of loyalty were unstintingly and ostentatiously extravagant, not unlike what Perkasa did for our former PM when he took on the post of patron to the so-called NGO, except of course Najib's efforts were far more stupendous wakakaka.

Perhaps the laddie was so petrified of his zigzagging ways right up to the last minute of the critical party election that post-election, he would have been humongously worried he won't be accepted or viewed with suspicion by the new No 1 wakakaka. But Dr Mahathir always have a soft spot for young Najib. I suspect it's the Old Man's hutang budi (debt) to the late Tun Razak who brought him (Dr M) back to the party after he was expelled by Tunku.

So, with all these stories by my elders, I wonder about Dr Mahathir’s claim that Ku Li lost the post because he was impatient.

Say if my uncles' rendition is not true, would it still be a good story? Wakakaka!


  1. Do we share the same uncle? My uncle said the same exact thing.
    Seems we have uncle in high places. Wakaka.
    Anyhow to cut the story short, Ku Li has long been the victim of cantas-mencatas culture in UMNO
    It's the sodomy king who blew his chance to be PM
    From nobody he was parachuted to the top. But for his own shite behavior, he was heir apparent who lost his crown.
    So I understand why Mahathir was so cheesed off with him.

  2. maybe my uncles were in UMNO? wakakaka

  3. Ku Li is thanking his lucky stars that the mamak did not let loose saiful (and his anus) on him

  4. it is because kuli has royal background that Mathi has to think twice to accuse him sodomy or any crime--bujang/single that like sodomy.... any accusation these dictators wish.

    it is shame, very shameful for pukibumno leaders to enjoy and to retain full power and the only choice is cruelty and accuse all "enermies"--with any kind of accusations they wish.

    That's why, BN must die! It is a terribly party that oppress people, brain-washing people's mind.

  5. Yeah, Ku Li is very lucky Mahatiu didn't decide to make a Sodomite out of him.

  6. there was a certain sabah head dress that tengku razaleigh wore which had a pattern that looked like a cross...this was highlighted in the malay heartlands with a rumour that ku li had been converted....another suggested cause for a switch of some votes....nothing much has changed since

  7. Dear KTemoc,

    "But alas, it was said that Najib changed side at the last minute, and the rest is UMNO and Malaysian history"

    yes that was what I was told as well.

    Of course I cannot give you the proof but that was intimated first hand by another active UMNO MP and former S46 politician.

    We met a couple of times for dinner. I was a friend of his friend.

    Thank you

  8. KTEMOC,

    You depend too much on your uncle(s) for local political information. You should be asking other seasoned senior politicians or do some serious info digging to support and reinforce your articles.

    Mahathir's claim that Ku Li lost the opportunity for the UMNO Presidency because he was impatient..., is correct. And that goes the same for Anwar Ibrahim.., not the same though but somewhat a bit similar with regard to Musa Hitam.

    Being of Royal blood, Tg. Razaleigh have until this day, the 'Ruling Class' mentality. And politicians with the ruling class mentality would usually have the politics of patronage character 'in-built' within them.

    The impatience of Tg. Razaleigh was apparent when he had lost a number of times in contesting for the Deputy President post of UMNO against Musa Hitam.

    Not known to many though.., it was Tg. Razaleigh who had brought in Anwar Ibrahim into UMNO in the early 80's in effort to strengthen himself to again pit himself for the Deputy Presidency.

    However, his entanglement with Gammon House property debacle in Hong Kong and the The BMF Scandal (that cost the life of an Internal Auditor - Jalil Ibrahim), had somewhat hindered his popularity and chances in vying again for the post.

    Nonetheless, his 'recruit' i.e. Anwar Ibrahim had faired better and subsequently secured the UMNO Youth Chief post (defeating Shuhaimi Kamaruddin) due to his earlier popularity..., since even when he still outside of UMNO.

    Ironically, the sudden and rapid ascendence of Anwar Ibrahim in UMNO had more than raised eyebrows within the more 'senior' or older circles of UMNO. A new camp and impending 'threat' had thus surfaced.

    When Tg. Razaleigh had again lost to Musa Hitam (for the Deputy President post).., however later on Anwar Ibrahim had managed to retain the Youth Chief's post by this time pushing aside a far weaker challenger (i.e. Syed Hamid Albar).

    This new camp leader (Anwar Ibrahim) had now earned the respect of the President (Mahathir Mohamad).., but have instead created new divide and emnity within UMNO higher circles.., especially the Musa Hitam circles.

    Pressure mounted when later Musa Hitam pressured Mahathir to relegate Tg. Razaleigh from the cabinet post..., was also when Anwar Ibrahim had played safe and did not come into defence of his 'recruiter'.

    Ironically, the greatest of (internal party) political foes (Musa Hitam and Tg. Razaleigh) had joined hands to form 'Team-B' of UMNO.

    Najib's eleventh hour switching of side from 'Team-B' to 'Team-B' is something Tg. Razaleigh cannot forgive Najib..., till this very day..!

    Both Tg. Razaleigh and Musa Hitam lost in the 1986 UMNO contest. Tg. Razaleigh went on to form the Semangat 46 Party..., and the rest is history.

    Tg. Razaleigh's impatience and hastiness by taking UMNO to the courts and subsequently forming a new political party reflects his lack of political skills and wisdom. And, like Anwar he still believes that the PM's post is still his to contend for.

    Dream on..., Tg. Razaleigh...!

  9. Correction to paragraph-13 to my previous comments, should be read as below...,

    "....Najib's eleventh hour switching of side from 'Team-B' to 'Team-A' is something Tg. Razaleigh cannot forgive Najib..., till this very day..!"

    Thank you.