Friday, July 22, 2011

Free Malaysia Today - Ku Li’s Amanah likely to lead third force

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | July 22, 2011

Umno veteran says his group aims to be in the forefront of the fight against the country's "continuous disintegration".


KUALA LUMPUR: Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah hinted today that his new group, Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah), could possibly be the catalyst to a rising third force.

The Kelantan prince, in an inspiring speech at the launch of his new group, called on the silent majority to voice their discontent against “rife corruption, cronyism and racial crisis”.

Razaleigh said Amanah aims to be the platform for Malaysians to fight against what he sees as the country’s “continuous disintegration”, hinting at the group’s bid to be a non-partisan pressure group.

“I believe at the end of the road that we are taking in these early steps, we will be called upon to make several important decisions for the future of our nation – choices that we must take regardless of the problems, challenges and obstacle that we face,” he said.

“This morning could be another normal social event or it could be the beginning of a journey towards something that has never taken place before, that may change the current of our country’s future,” he said.

The setting up of Amanah has triggered speculation that Razaleigh, who has been highly critical of his own party’s leadership, no longer believes he could reform Umno from within.

Defection to the opposition could also see his reputation as an independent statesman tarnished. In a country without a strong third force, Razaleigh’s weight among the moderates and especially among the idealistic younger voters could be appealing.

Amanah’s ideology could also be a charm factor. Studies have shown that younger Malaysian voters tend to vote for the opposition given the lack of a credible middle choice, not due to partisan politics.

Amanah aims to rekindle the multi-racial spirit that was fought for by the country’s founding fathers. Their goal is to bring everyone who believe in Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra’s vision of a truly united Malaysia together.

Middle and moderate voice

The group, boasting multi-racial political veterans membership like former Sarawak deputy chief Minister Daniel Tajem, former tourism minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and those still active like former MCA president Ong Tee Keat, could well fill in this gap.

While Razaleigh continued to pound the government, indirectly blaming them for worsening racism and dismal economic performance, he dropped more hints of Amanah’s possible third force role throughout his speech:

“We want to represent the middle and moderate voice that try to avoid confrontation with the authorities because we want to continue with our daily lives normally.

“If we do not do anything, the consequences will be horrible and the situation cannot be resolved. This is the time for the majority who have been silent to voice out”.

Razaleigh was not available to explain the real role of Amanah nor did he state how his group aims to achieve their objectives but said that they will be explained in due time.

Razaleigh, affectionately known as Ku Li, is touted to be the best candidate to lead the country next to Opposition Leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Rumours were rife that the Gua Musang MP was approached by opposition leaders and offered the position should Pakatan Rakyat wrest federal power, but the former dismissed this.

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