Just like old times - Musa launches Ku Li's memoirs

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2024

PETALING JAYA: Two former Umno stalwarts - rivals who joined hands as leaders of the party's infamous Team B in 1987 - have come together again, this time to launch a memoir.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam launched KU LI: Memoir 205 which is about his once party rival, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, whom he bested for the deputy Umno presidency in 1981.

Written by Datin Zinitulniza Abdul Kadir, the book details the many behind-the-scenes stories related to the country's Finance Minister from 1976 to 1984, and Trade and Industry Minister from 1984 to 1987.

The launch of the 339-page book, which was published by Forum Press Sdn Bhd, was livestreamed over Facebook from its venue at a hotel in KLCC.

In his speech, Musa said that when he was asked to launch the book on Tengku Razaleigh - also known as Ku Li - many did not believe it.

"That's because so many people don't know our history. (They) want to see people fighting in the past just talking, there's a common interest in launching the book today," he said.

Admitting that their relationship were strained for some time after they turned from party comrades into rivals, Musa said Ku Li's position in politics and government were unquestionable, adding that he would have been prime minister is things had been different.

After their bitter contest in 981, Musa and Ku Li banded against Team A led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Ghafar Baba during the Umno elections in 1987. They were defeated.

Tengku Razaleigh went on to set up and lead rival party Semangat 46 while Musa retired from politics.

Addressing Tengku Razaleigh in the audience, Musa, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, quipped:

"You're younger than I am....who knows? You will be a candidate in the next election."

Earlier, Ku Li said many had approached him to write a book on himself.

"But I declined because I don't think I led an interesting and eventful life," he said.

However, he gave in to Zinitulniza and her colleagues' argument that future generations should "know a bit about his views on what went on during our founding fathers' times."

"After 37 years, after turning down many offers, Tengku finally agreed (to collaborate) on the book," said Zinitulniza, who also described Musa's agreement to launch the book as a "sweet surprise".

The book, she said, featured dialogues, conversations as well as correspondences between Ku Li and the country's founders, such as former Prime Ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, and second deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

The book also includes Ku Li's "secret mission" to China in 1971 in the first steps towards establishing diplomatic relations with the country three years later.

According to a press release, the book also highlights Ku Li's efforts and strategies in getting back the country's oil rights, which were previously surrendered by the British to Shell via an agreement, known as the "Selagi ada bulan dan bintang" - to the setting up of PETRONAS.

The book, which contains 15 chapters, is based on research and interviews with Ku Li. Later, Musa and Ku Li signed the poster promoting the book and later fielded questions from journalists.

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