GE15: Ku Li, the ‘heart’ of Gua Musang


KOTA BARU: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - the oldest Barisan Nasional candidate - had three times voiced his reluctance to contest in general elections but his devotion to the coalition led him to agree once again to become their representative in the Gua Musang constituency.

At 85, some might argue that Tengku Razaleigh, also known as Ku Li, may no longer be fit to champion the people’s fight and serve their interests.

Umno, however, seems unprepared to take the risk of placing a “new face” in the seat which has been held by Ku Li since he was first elected as a candidate in 1974.

"He has been there for so long, and he sees other political veterans retiring around him.

"So he too refused to contest, he said it three times, and the mandate was given to the division committee to identify a new candidate but the committee, instead, chose him to continue.

"So he had no choice but to accept the decision," said Gua Musang Umno Puteri chief Norfadzlete Aryani Mat Rosli when contacted.

Last year, Ku Li was reported saying that he was asked to contest in Gua Musang due to concerns that the seat would no longer be a “safe” seat should it be given to another candidate.

Norfadzlete said Ku Li had won the hearts of many through his focus on education for children.

“He always emphasised education. He believed that everything starts from there. Children should be educated so that they grow up to be exemplary citizens.

“The school is where it all starts and whatever he did, it would benefit all. It doesn't matter who the parents support,” she said.

Gua Musang Umno deputy division chief Mohd Syahbuddin Hashim said the party division feels that Ku Li remains relevant for his intelligence, experience and awareness of the people’s needs which makes it hard to find his replacement.

“Ku Li is a formidable leader in Gua Musang hence why we feel that he remains relevant to continue his work as a parliamentarian and he will be assisted by his three state assemblymen, Umno and BN machinery,” he said, adding that to bridge the age gap with the younger generation, programmes would be organised by party wings.

He said Ku Li’s presence in Parliament was crucial, especially in the current political landscape.

“We need someone who has the experience to be our reference or mediator for all parties in the country.

“Besides serving his role as an MP, he can perform checks and balances in the Dewan Rakyat.

“His statement and explanation would normally be considered by national leaders, especially the prime minister,” he said.

Gua Musang Umno Youth chief Mohd Azmawi Fikri Andul Ghani said Ku Li is the “heart” of Gua Musang.

“Whatever we have, is all because of him... from a ‘cowboy’ town, he transformed Gua Musang into what it is today.

“So he is still relevant and loved in Gua Musang,” he said, adding that they were confident that Ku Li would be able to retain the seat and probably with an increased majority.

He said the Umno division had introduced two young candidates during the last general election, namely Mohd Syahbuddin Hashim and Amran Arifin for Galas and Paloh state seats, however, the party believed that now was not the time to do so for the parliamentary seats.

“We need to strategise properly even if we want to change our leader.

"We need to have a soft plan and we need to make sure that it is accepted by all,” he said.

On his age, Azmawi said Ku Li has a solid team who have been his “arms and legs” to serve the people in all segments of society.

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