Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sakmongkol AK47’s afternoon with Tengku Razaleigh(6)

A caveat is in order here. If what I write sounds crude and not in keeping with Tengku Razleigh's character, that shortcoming is due entirely to my uncouth style of expression. As many would attest, TRH is the gentleman politician, always respectful and diplomatic. He has the mannerisms of an English gentleman and a patrician Malay. He has never been known to disparage any of his political foes in public.

Perhaps it is because of this refined characteristic and lack or refusal on his part to be ruthless and cunning, that has prevented him to become what many wished him to be.

Additionally, I wish to state that my rendering of material covered in my conversation with TRH is culled purely from memory. I wrote a few notes after the conversation. I would hasten to assure readers that I have not overly embellished the session with my own personal judgements.

That caution settled; I wish to share a gem of information with readers. After Nixon went to China in 1972, the first from an Asian country to go there was probably Tun Razak. But before Tun Razak went, Tengku Razaleigh went there first. He went to set the agenda and go over the paces.

It was during that visit, that TRH struck a personal rapport with China's grey eminence- Chou Enlai. According to TRH, Chou was one of the most impressive Chinese leaders he has ever met. He knew several languages but spoke in Chinese with an interpreter. He knew English as well as French, and would correct the interpreter if something said was not captured properly.

This was in 1974. TRH was head of Pernas then, if I am not mistaken. His mother was ailing back in Kota Bharu, stricken with cancer. But TRH had to go to China.

During the conversation with Chou, the later remarked that now TRH is here, he must be worried about his mother back home. When Chou said that, TRH realised how thorough the Chinese Intelligence services were. The Chinese Intelligence Authorities were so thorough they knew the background of everyone on TRH's entourage. They even identified a Malaysian Malay SB officer who could speak Mandarin, accompanying TRH.

But it was the personal gesture of Chou that left a lasting impression on TRH.

In those days, there were no direct telephone lines connecting China and Malaysia. But Chou Enlai went all out to link up TRH to speak with his ailing mother. The Chinese authorities went through 3 countries to enable TRH speak with his ailing matriarch. Lines were opened up from Peking to London to Singapore and eventually to KB.

In those halcyon days, a nation's relationship can be cemented through the art of personal rapport. I wonder if from the unpromising crop of our current leaders do we have personalities with sufficient social fluidity to strike up a personal rapport with leaders of other countries?

Tengku, I wish to say I am in full agreement with your opinions on the Perak political imbroglio. The only right way and dignified way to secure government is through elections and not through any form of underhanded putsch.

That's what the Perak political episode was. It was just a political putsch. And the Perak Sultan is unnecessarily dragged into this sordid affair. His own illustrious judicial career will now come under greater scrutiny. I am sure every judgment that HRH Sultan Perak made will be examined closely.

We ridicule ourselves actually when the Pakatan Assemblymen held their assembly under the tree. The whole world is watching. A minor administrative officer suddenly invested himself with powers beyond his slender shoulders to deny access to democratically elected lawmakers. We are actually showing the world, that it is we, the present day government that is behaving like a tantrum throwing spoilt child who wants to get his way.

TRH did not rush to respond to my own monologue.

This is what you get when people are not aware of the full import of the rule of law and constitution. This is what we get when rule of law is replaced with the rule of men. In a democracy, we must uphold the fundamental principle that the only legitimate way of forming a government is through elections and never by any means of political meanderings.

This episode Tengku, tells the public that UMNO does not know how to lose. They are sore losers!

What is there to lose? UMNO has already lost. We have lost the Malay belt states. Kelantan- we shall never get it back in the foreseeable future. We are on the brink of losing Terengganu.

We must learn to lose gracefully and maintain self respect. The rakyat will respect us for that.

The only way to regain public trust and confidence for UMNO and more importantly to restore dignity to the ruler is to dissolve the assembly. Let the people judge us.

Yes, chances are, UMNO will lose. But so what? As I said, UMNO has already lost. But it's more important for us to accept defeat with dignity without trampling the rakyat's rights.

And you know what? The Malays love to vote. They like the atmosphere of queuing up, experience a little bit of adrenalin rush to actually place marks of the voting papers and cast their votes. We should give them that.

Yes Tengku- and I also think, the other reason why Malays like to vote is because, though that way, they exercised their democratic rights and acclaimed their relevance. They know that is the only way they could affirm their political feelings.

I must add Tengku that your almost religious deference to the democratic process and rule of law is a reflection of your own educational and exposure to western democratic ideas. TRH got his economics degree from Ireland and was preparing to read law in England if not for the untimely death of his father.

Using your own exposure to the democratic traditions, I am puzzled that the PM2B have not shown the same tendencies one would have expected of a person exposed a long time to the British system of government. One expects he would be the first to defend the system.

TRH's response was tangential. He did not directly respond to my opinion. I too wasn't keen to push the issue.

I gave Najib his first job. At Petronas you know. Some people are not like you and me. We have to struggle through the rank and file. We go through the mill. We become polished through that process.

Some people are so used to getting whatever fancies them. Our PM2B will profit by infusing more Malay and Islamic values into himself. Take religious knowledge for instance. I am not suggesting that one becomes an ustaz overnight. But we must have sufficient knowledge and understanding to manage those who have.

Tengku, will you serve the country if called upon? I have written in my blog that perhaps the only way our PM2B can restore confidence and regain trust is appointing as Finance Minister. Only you as Finance Minister. No second finance minister.

I can immediately see two benefits here. First, you can be called upon as counsel. With your vast experience and stature, you would introduce a much needed respectability. Second, your presence will certainly be a buffer to the unavoidable constant criticisms from Tun Mahathir.

That is a very remote possibility. Unless the situation is profoundly grave, I see no possibilities of being called upon nor do i have the inclination to do so.

Tengku I am surprised that none of the UMNO leadership provided a substantive response to your 5 point program of reforming UMNO. Especially your point 5 where you suggested that those who hold high party posts should never be allowed to hold top government post. That's quite radical.

Yes, vested interests override political correctness. Plus, I have a deep suspicion our leaders don't read. They are even more reluctant to write. Imagine having your thoughts examined by others and you have to be accountable to what you write.

The concluding part: TRH on Economics.


Anonymous,  8 March 2009 at 11:24  

Tengku got his economics degree from Queen's University of Belfast.

Kindly note that Belfast in Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom consists of four nations namely; Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

Ireland is the Republic of Ireland.

Totally separate countries!!

Kindly amend your article.

Dhahran Sea,  8 March 2009 at 11:54  

Anon 11:24,
I think Tok Sak went beyond 1900's when "Northern Ireland" was part of "Ireland" before being colonized by the Brits.!? But I thought TRH graduated from LSE? Was it his Masters?

Dhahran Sea,  8 March 2009 at 11:55  

Salam Tok Sak,
Interesting insights by TRH! But don't think UMNOputras or UMNOvets would listen/swallow what he said... alas, people believe what they want to believe...

danny 8 March 2009 at 11:58  

To: Anonymous

If pedantry is your inclination, then Ireland also refers to the island which consist of the two countries.
[and if you don't trust wikipedia, try the UN: ]

So Sakmongkol is not wrong, and has no need to amend the article.

If you must be persnickety, you could ask the Datuk to correct the sentence: "...TRH studied got his economics degree from Ireland.."

I suspect most other readers are too distracted by trivial concerns like enjoying and digesting the substance of the interview.

sakmongkol AK47 8 March 2009 at 14:25  

no need to amend the article. when i said got his economics degree from Ireland, i meant it was from Northern Ireland as you correctly pointed out.
yes i have corrected that got/studied part of the sentence. my mistake.

Anonymous,  8 March 2009 at 14:56  

Dear Dato' Sak,

Thank you for blogging on your interviews with Tengku Razaleigh and Tun Daim. We have always gotten only 2nd hand impression or burnished interviews on these two gentlemen. Yours shed true light on their character and through your narration, has reminds us how blessed we were in the past on having world class leaders. We need our society to nurture and embrace leadership of this pedigree and reject those unwilling to hold themselves accountable to the rakyat.

Mike Cheok

Anonymous,  8 March 2009 at 15:16  

TRH stands up like a "sore thumb" in UMNO today. why he wants to remain UMNO is a mystery though he knows he will remain as the lone voice drowned by the chorus of racism by the majority.
To me, TRH has all the qualities to be the PM.
Datuk, can you shed some light into that?

Anonymous,  8 March 2009 at 17:25  

Let us concentrate on the contents rather sweat over the small things!

To anon 11:24:
For that kind of comment, i think it's best just to email to Sakmangkol AK47. Though you are smart, i suppose, but it was not necessary.

Anonymous,  8 March 2009 at 17:32  

Anonymous of 08 March 2009 15:16 said "...why he wants to remain UMNO is a mystery ..."

I don't think it is a good idea for TRH to leave UMNO. UMNO is irrelevant today only because it allows a bunch of crooks to run it. But not all of UMNO is bad. However it is indeed critical that the sane and sober elements in UMNO stand up to the nonsense and put a stop to all the rubbish that is being generated by the unprincipled and uncivilised bunch.

wah@janggo 9 March 2009 at 02:13  

TRH is out of the UMNO-degradation loop, the era of huge economic success of TDM/TDZ era where there's a lot of money flying around and UMNO succumb to money politics with the power access to money access to power.. formula.

Enter Anwar Ibrahim, master exponent of these and whose mechanization also snuff out any contenders ambition for the top dawg post further sideline TRH.

As such there is not much corruption or money politics rap on him.

But as someone mentioned the BMF debacle where billions got blundered and ppl killed, I got hazy memory of that, in lower sec school at that time, happened under his watch, that was when the only thing flying around was dirt, so..

PM we never had he is, but not for the lack of opportunities. He blunder each time not unlike a striker who got all the moves but never able to score goal.

Under current fear, uncertainty and doubt where our current PM is a bozo being hounded out and the incoming PM have such a bad rap that doing the job become an impossibility, such that effectively we don't have a PM, maybe TRH the PM we never had, is an idea whose time has come.

By the look of it TRH is priming himself for that, touting the moral high ground against the degradation that is UMNO, taking the contrarian view from the partyline on almost every issue.

Btw, with his proposal those who hold high party post should not hold high govt position looks like he is hell bent on denying Najib the PM post.

The court injunction? That will further push UMNO into turmoil, after Perak one could never be too sure with anything to do with constitution even UMNO's.

I think that's TRH gambit to get in.

Just trying my hand at conspiracy Dato :).

Temuljin 9 March 2009 at 04:17  

Dear friend,
I posted the comments below on TRH's blog in his opinion of the 'Stimulus Package'
I do sincerely hope that the John Pangs of the new Power in Office take heed of this and Reccomend a SENIOR ECONOMICS MINISTER post for TRH of which all Cabinet ministers with Portfolios involved with National Economy like Finance and Trade comes under the purview of the senior minister.

My dear Tengku.
I have been following the countless times you generously share your wisdom and fears of the imminent collapse of not only global economy,but the world order.
My only hope is that somewhere within the Government and powers of the day ,they take heed of your recommendations and go beyond damage control and as you mentioned, prepare to position Malaysia and Malaysians and armed them to heal and rapidly recover when the opportunity arises.
We should gear ourselves with tools of economic growth by building infrastructures in the country to be ahead of at least our neighbors.
We are ‘blessed’ that we did not have an efficient and effective government that would have gone global boosting an egoistic image thus rendering us less, exposed for the moment to the collapse of global economic systems.
What we shall face are “in your favorite words” the contagion effects of the collapse.
It is about time that we reconciliate and work together to help ourselves rather than create more fires to fight.
If it is destined that Najib becomes PM,I hope that you would be able to help him to provide the remedies to heal. I hope there will be a position of Senior Economics Minister that would be for you to effectively provide the solutions and implementation of the economy.
Let us put aside all our differences and save this blessed country of ours.
I sincerely apologise if my suggestions above offended you but I believe you and only you commands the respect and credibility of those that can join hands to make it happen.You can convince them that it is no longer about power.Let us all stand up and be counted.


25 Feb 09 at 5:35 am

My comment above is purely based on the timelines that are available to execute any other plans.
Most comments are full of wishful assumptions that we have time for POLITICS. It is brought by the advent of cyberspace and the clueless leadership of the day that embarrassed the nation at large with poor management or rather no management at all.
Go beyond the political issues and when we resolve the economic health of the country can we then address power and put the right pegs in the right hole.

Anonymous,  9 March 2009 at 04:29  

,,,the UMNO diehard will always support UMNO no matter what !
,,,its the non-UMNO anonymous that makes the worst scenarios or predictions for UMNO based on individual bias feelings !.
,,,Many Malays are not registered UMNO members but are UMNO supporters b'cus they don't trust the alternative as yet, which is where/what UMNO must work on !
,,,UMNO Leadership selection or methodology for selection should be changed inorder to effect changes in UMNO. Present system is outdated and limits the selection process.
,,,Most of us Malays are Watchers and not Participants in UMNO internal politics.
,,,AK47, its individual like you that could activate the change process in UMNO, in fact what you are presently doing by writing/voicing your thoughts with-in/out UMNO is very positive. This initiative should be encouraged by UMNO leadership for the party tomove forward.
,,, It takes a special breed of Malay individual to manage and run the UMNO Leadership or sail her through the stormy waters. In fact, there are many such leaders around but are blocked out by existing UMNO system of selection !.
,,, UMNO will never die as long as there are Malays in Malaysia. Her popularity will go up and down like a roller coster but the show will continue to be played no matter what.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous,  9 March 2009 at 11:47  


Please allow me to do some cheer leading - am not good at playing.

Anon 17:32,

Very true, the sane and sober elements in UMNO should stand up and put a stop to all the nonsense. With UMNO said to be rotten to the core, can you suggest how, in some detail please.


Agree with you the BMF Affair is a blemish on TRH but he is perhaps a lesser evil. But with the many
"unprincipled and uncivilised bunch" stated by Anon above, can you suggest how he can get in? I don't mind him leading.


Sorry, I thought you were Temujin, the Mongolian who became Genghis Khan and conquered China some 800 years ago. No offence intended.

If by Senior Economics Minister you mean purely economics, not finance, I doubt if TRH would be interested. If Senior Finance Minister, possibly.

I don't want to sound doom and gloom but methinks UMNO is doomed and the country going to the rocks unless the coming Annual General Assembly produces some miracles. As it appears now, the contenders have tons of money, the delegates rubbing their forefinger against their thumb, some whipering fulus, fulus.

Nevertheless, we must always have hope. More than hope, we must pray. And not only pray but do whatever we can to get a better future. Even just talking about it helps. Rather than just keeping quiet watching the goons continue to rape our country.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP