GEORGE TOWN: A veteran Umno politician has warned that the country is facing dangerous political and economic failure, saying only an extraordinary leadership can check the slide.

Former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is the longest-serving MP in the country, listed several crises that may come together in the immediate future and cause severe hardship to Malaysians.

He said among them were failure of the leadership and political parties, a life-threatening health crisis that impacts every aspect of life and disruption of the food supply chain that can destabilise the country’s food security.

He said any disruption in the food supply chain could cause a deep structural crisis in all aspects of the economy and result in widespread unemployment.

“Because of these disruptions, the ringgit will devalue and there will be depletion of the US dollar reserves, causing inflation and a supply crisis of food and other essentials,” he told a forum at Universiti Sains Malaysia here today.

The 85-year-old Tengku Razaleigh, who has been an 11-term MP since 1974, also spoke of institutional failures, citing the Dewan Rakyat as being in a dysfunctional state due to political corruption and factional politics.

“The Dewan Rakyat no longer represents the mandate of voters. In its present state, it has lost the confidence of the people due to the conduct of some of the MPs.

“It is seen as a failure and unrepresentative of the nation because the elected representatives behave as though they are unrepresentative of the expectations of the rakyat and their hopes.”

Tengku Razaleigh, fondly known as Ku Li, said the MPs appeared to be representing their own factions in the Dewan Rakyat, and seeking to benefit financially by being awarded political office.

The Gua Musang MP added that the politics of the Dewan Rakyat showed a failure of leadership. The people deserved a leadership that prioritises the country over political ambitions, he added.

Tengku Razaleigh said there could be many more unknown crises ahead that the country was unprepared for, and it would be a mistake for the leadership to respond only when these became full-blown.

He said the nation urgently needed extraordinary leadership that is able to address the impending political, economic, health and financial crises.