Friday, November 9, 2007

Ku Li: Many issues are escaping Pak Lah's grip

Andrew Ong,
Nov 7, 07

Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s policy speech today revealed that all is not fine with the government.

The former finance minister said the speech only amplified that there was a litany of problems being faced by Abdullah’s government.

There are constitutional, social and economic problems which he has to deal with. I pity him. Many issues are escaping his grip,” said Razaleigh, when met by several reporters at the sidelines of the general assembly today.

To Abdullah’s credit however, Razaleigh believed that the premier was trying his utmost to tackle the issues he is confronting. “

But things don’t seem to be turning out quite right,” added Razaleigh, who is Kelantan's Gua Musang member of parliament, a post which he had held since 1974.

Razaleigh, who is also former Umno vice-president and once a favourite among many in Umno to assume the top post, said this when asked for his reaction to Abdullah’s much anticipated speech this morning.

Being the largest party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, Abdullah’s policy speech is often seen as an important indicator of the government’s immediate plans. ‘It's typical of Umno

'Razaleigh also pointed out that while Abdullah’s speech had covered much ground, a crucial problem affecting the government was not addressed.

“He did not say a word on corruption,” said Razaleigh, who attributes the omission as an oversight. “He probably has overlooked the issue... But yet, it was the burning question of the day.”

To be fair, Abdullah did make a passing remark on the issue by praising the Anti-Corruption Agency for its swift action against civil servants following revelations made in the Auditor-General’s Report.

Corruption aside, Razaleigh said Abdullah had however shown a lot of concern on issues pertaining to law enforcement, inflation and in particular, the party’s Malay agenda.

Razaleigh agreed when it was suggested that delegates in this year’s Umno general assembly appear to exercise restraint in their speeches when highlighting problems currently faced by the country.

“It is typical of Umno."

"They never want to create problems for leaders and make them unhappy,” he said. Prior to the general assembly, Umno top brass, including Abdullah, had repeated warned delegates to be mindful of the words uttered during the general assembly.

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