KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s longest-serving lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has hailed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as a good and articulate administrator with the skills to navigate the country to greater heights.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is fondly known as Ku Li, said that though other people might have different views about Najib, he generally felt that Najib was a firm leader.
“I think he is very articulate, he is very effective in providing leadership as far as his party or his government is concerned,” he said.
The former finance minister was asked his thoughts about Najib’s leadership in an interview with the Bernama News Channel for the talk show, The Nation. The programme is scheduled to be aired at 3.30 pm today and 3.30 pm on Tuesday.
The Kelantan prince, who has served as an MP since the days of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in the 70s, said he was happy with the country’s development although it had taken some time to reach the current level.
“It has been commendable, in the sense that we have made achievements and the transformation from an undeveloped state to a semi-developed state has been most welcome, most rewarding, and I think the people generally have benefited a lot from the development that has been done,” he said.
At 81, Tengku Razaleigh is set to retain his title as the longest-serving elected representative in the country, both at the parliamentary and state levels, if he wins the Gua Musang parliamentary seat in the 14th general election on May 9.
Tengku Razaleigh is defending the seat he first won in 1974 when it was known as Ulu Kelantan.
He joined UMNO in 1962 and won the Ulu Kelantan Barat state seat in 1969 by defeating the PAS candidate, Hussin Abdullah.
He contested a parliamentary seat in 1974 and has remained the people’s representative for Gua Musang (formerly Ulu Kelantan), even when he founded and led Parti Semangat 46 in 1989 after declining to join UMNO Baru that was set up following the dissolution of UMNO by the court.
In the 13th general election, in 2013, he defeated PAS candidate Wan Abd Rahim Wan Abdullah with a majority of 8,413 votes.
In the upcoming election, Tengku Razaleigh is in a three-cornered fight with Abdullah Hussein (PAS) and Mohd Nor Hussin (PKR-PPBM) and is set to become the people’s representative for the 12th term if he wins.
Educated at the Queen’s University of Belfast, Ku Li graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and has held several key positions in the government.
He was appointed the finance minister by third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn in 1976 following the passing of Tun Abdul Razak. He has also served as the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Tengku Razaleigh was made the chairman of the Islamic Development Bank in 1978.
Perhaps his greatest achievement in the realm of finance came in 1977 when he was appointed the chairman of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. – BERNAMA