POLITICIANS charged in court should not hold any responsibility, especially in Parliament, as they are tainted, said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, taking aim at former prime minister Najib Razak who was recently appointed as Barisan Nasional backbenchers’ club chairman.
The Umno advisory council chairman said he has no beef against Najib personally but advised the latter to give up any position of power.
Najib was appointed as BN backbenchers’ chairman and recently gave a 90-minute speech while debating Budget 2021.
“My concern is his credibility. I have nothing against Najib personally. All those who aspire to be leaders must have clean records.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court found Najib guilty on July 28 of all seven criminal charges – three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money-laundering and one count of abuse of power – for receiving RM42 million in the SRC International trial.
The Pekan MP was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million for the seven offences. Failure to pay the fine will incur five more years of jail time. Najib is appealing the case.
Tengku Razaleigh, or better known as Ku Li, also said Najib still thinks he is relevant, especially when he surrounds himself with large crowds of supporters.
He said it is the same with Umno president and Bagan Datoh MP Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 47 charges with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust, eight for corruption and 27 for money-laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
‘Still very much with Umno’
Despite his criticism, Tengku Razaleigh maintained that he still very much was loyal to Umno and would not forsake the party even when it did badly in the 2018 general election.
“I believe in Umno and that’s why I don’t leave Umno. I do not regard Umno as a political vehicle which I can jump off and on, like a bus or LRT (Light Rapid Transport).
“To me, it is a cause and I think we should be grateful for what they have done. Collectively, they have done a lot for this country compared to others.”
The Gua Musang MP, however, said Umno must change and get rid of money politics which have been plaguing it for too long.
“It’s up to the members. If they are happy, they will keep the leaders that are there today. If not, they will change the leaders.
“I, for one, am not interested in running for office because I don’t believe in money politics. This (money politics) leads to corruption.
“I don’t use money politics. I try to be a gentleman. I do not play that kind of politics as I do not believe in it. ”
Tengku Razaleigh contested in the 2018 Umno presidential race and lost to Zahid and Khairy Jamaluddin.
In his campaign speeches, he had constantly touched on the ill-effects of money politics which led to the party’s loss in the previous elections.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT