KUALA LUMPUR • One of Malaysia's longest-serving MPs, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, said he will not be contesting the next general election, which is due in 2018.
Now 80, he said he has served his ward for 45 years and wished for someone else to take over.
His 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.
"I cannot continue to hold up the sky, I have been around for way too long... Been a representative for 45 years and headed the Umno division for almost 60 years," he told Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia yesterday. "I am also 80 years old. I can no longer bear the responsibility as a representative for the people. It is time that someone else replaces me."
The report about his impending retirement came a day after ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, 91, announced that he is to helm a new political party in an effort to topple Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Tengku Razaleigh, a prince in Kelantan, was a finance minister and international trade minister.
I cannot continue to hold up the sky, I have been around for way too long... Been a representative for 45 years and headed the Umno division for almost 60 years. I am also 80 years old... It is time that someone else replaces me.
TENGKU RAZALEIGH HAMZAH
He was also 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.
In 1987, Tengku Razaleigh, an Umno vice-president, teamed up with ex-deputy prime minister Musa Hitam to challenge Dr Mahathir's leadership of the Malay nationalist party. They lost.
Tengku Razaleigh left Umno to start a new political party called Semangat '46 (Spirit of '46) - to evoke the original spirit of Umno when it was formed in 1946.The party contested several elections and won seats. But its influence had shrunk by 1996, when the party folded and Tengku Razaleigh rejoined Umno.
Tengku Razaleigh told Utusan that he had told his constituents about his decision to step down in the previous election but some were worried about the ward falling to the opposition. He said there should not be any worries of Gua Musang falling to the opposition in the coming general election.