Posted: 14 Dec 2013 01:27 PM PST
V. Anbalagan, TMI
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's credentials as a statesman and a politician with enlightened views on race are now on the line as he has reportedly accepted Perkasa's invitation to open its fourth annual general meeting next week.
While the Gua Musang MP has regularly met Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali as both are from Kelantan, they cannot be more different as chalk and cheese.
Tengku Razaleigh is urbane, sophisticated and cosmopolitan while Ibrahim has been known to be crude with a narrow racial view that has seen him jump from one party to another, earning the sobriquet of a "political frog".
The Malaysian Insider understands that the former finance minister and Umno veteran, popularly known as Ku Li, has confirmed he would attend the meeting at Pusat Islam in Kuala Lumpur on December 22.
Those close to the Kelantan prince said he had weighed the pros and cons of associating with the right-wing Malay group before confirming his attendance at the assembly themed "Upholding the Constitution for the wellbeing of all".
"He wants to engage the Perkasa leadership and persuade them to be more inclusive. He wants them to look at the bigger picture," a Ku Li confidante told The Malaysian Insider.
Tengku Razaleigh, who was tasked with setting up national oil firm Petronas, has been an advocate of market and economic liberalisation in the past decade unlike Ibrahim who believes that the Malays should have a greater control and share of the economy.
Ibrahim has articulated his views through Perkasa, which boasts a 500,000 membership mainly from Umno, which he found after 2008 elections when he stood on a PAS ticket.
He turned independent to support the ruling Barisan Nasional after Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped down as prime minister.
His relationship with Ku Li goes back to the time when both were in the old Umno and the now defunct Semangat 46, which was once in power with PAS in the Kelantan government.
Both only returned to the Umno fold in 1996, where Ibrahim eventually became a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's government.
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