Tengku Razaleigh not retiring from politics

Tengku Razaleigh says he is prepared to defend his Gua Musang seat in Malaysia's next general election.
Tengku Razaleigh says he is prepared to defend his Gua Musang seat in Malaysia's next general election.

GUA MUSANG (Kelantan) • Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, one of Malaysia's longest-serving MPs, has changed his mind about retiring from politics, reported Bernama news agency.

The Gua Musang MP has said he is prepared to defend his seat in the next general election which is due by June 2018.

The change of mind came after the Gua Musang Umno division delegates meeting last Saturday approved a resolution calling on him to remain as the division's chief and defend the seat.

Tengku Razaleigh, 79, told the Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia in July that he had served his ward for 45 years and wished for someone else to take over.

He said: "I cannot continue to hold up the sky, I have been around for way too long... It is time that someone else replaces me."

He added that when he told his constituents about his plan to step down, some were worried about the ward falling to the opposition.

At Saturday's meeting, Tengku Razaleigh reminded the Gua Musang Umno members not to underestimate the strength of the opposition parties, Bernama reported.

He said the Barisan Nasional would face a tough fight if the opposition parties decided to unite against the ruling coalition.

Tengku Razaleigh's constituency of Gua Musang in remote Kelantan is synonymous with him, and at times seen as aptly named for him as the ward's name means The Fox's Cave in Malay.

A prince in Kelantan, he was also the country's finance minister and international trade minister.

He was the founding chairman and chief executive of national oil company Petroliam Nasional (Petronas), which has grown to become Malaysia's most profitable company with operations in 50 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2016, with the headline 'Tengku Razaleigh not retiring from politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe