Friday, January 29, 2010

Ku Li praised for brave stand on oil, rights of states

  Pakatan Rakyat leaders praised Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for his courage and non-partisanship in standing up for Kelantan’s oil rights and for calling for a review of the Federation Agreement, which details the rights of the 13 states vis-a-vis the federal government.

“He is a very brave man, a man of tremendous principles to stand up to his party,” Wan Rahim Wan Abdullah, MP for Kota Bharu and former Speaker of the Kelantan legislative assembly, told Harakahdaily.

“Not only is he speaking up for the Kelantan people but he is also trying to correct the abuses by the federal government in the way they allocate money and grants to the different states, including Sabah and Sarawak,” Wan Rahim added.

“It is high time that the Umno-BN behaved like a gentleman and honour the Petronas profit-sharing agreement with the oil-producing states, of which Kelantan is one. They should not have double standards and pick on Kelantan just because it is ruled by PAS-Pakatan,” Hanipa Maidin, PAS central committee member, told Harakahdaily.

“Imagine if you cannot honour an agreement with your own states, which country or multinational would want to have serious long-term dealings with you. These of sort things have a much deeper and longer-term implication than the Umno-BN cares to admit,” Hanipa added.

Massive turnout for the PAS oil forum

Indeed, Ku Li – as the Tengku Razaleigh is also known – is renowned for his stickiness for fair-play. The former Finance Minister, who was the first chairman of national oil firm Petronas, had in the 1980s challenged former premier Mahathir Mohamad and more recently Prime Minister Najib Razak for the presidency of Umno.

A crowd of at least 50,000 turned up to see him share the center stage with PAS spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat, whose party had organized the forum held at the Stadium Sultan Mohamed IV on Thursday night.

They were not disappointed by the two veteran leaders. “I stand here representing only myself. I am here upon principle,” was Ku Li’s appetizer to the roaring crowd.

The cheers grew even louder when he confirmed that he had decided to accept a Pakatan invitation to lead the parliamentary caucus on oil rights.

The caucus was mooted after Najib refused to pay Kelantan – which is ruled by the PAS-led Pakatan state government - five percent in oil royalty and instead offered a much lesser sum in the form of compassionate money.

“If Sarawak is due her five per cent royalty, no less is Kelantan, by the same principle,” Ku Li said. “Kelantan may be poor. But we are not beggars. We demand what is rightfully ours."

He also told the crowd that Malaysia was a federation of sovereign states and the states have assigned only certain rights to the federal government, not all as the federal government would have it appear.

“The oil caucus I will lead is not just about oil. It is to re-examine the relationship between the states and the federal government. Let us re-examine the terms of the Federation Agreement signed in 1948,” said Ku Li.

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