May 10, 2012
Baradan Kuppusamy: On Tunku Abdul Aziz, DAP and BERSIH3.0
Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim once praised the DAP as a party that espouses values of transparency and accountability, among others. However, after his criticism of the messy April 28 rally, the party he had held in high esteem is about to drop him as its senator.
IT was a personal coup for Lim Kit Siang when the straight-talking former Transparency International (TI) Malaysia founder and chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, 74, decided to join the DAP in August 2008.
He was persuaded by the consistent manner Lim had run the DAP for over 20 years and had chosen the party over PKR that is led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Although both are multi-racial parties and allies, Tunku Abdul Aziz had said he liked the way Lim had consistently fought for human rights, civil liberties, transparency and accountability in the government.
Speaking at a 2008 forum, Tunku Abdul Aziz said: “While other parties talk about democracy, justice and equality, the DAP not only espouses these values but try much harder than the rest to practise them.”
Reputedly of strong principles, he is among the few Malays who had joined the Chinese-dominated party and was immediately made a DAP vice-chairman. In 2009, he was nominated as a senator for Penang.He had made it clear, however, he would speak his mind on matters of importance and the party had to tolerate it. In other words, he is not one to toe the party line.
So, when he spoke against the April 28 BERSIH rally, the DAP rank and file got a jolt.Tunku Abdul Aziz had said the gathering was apt to encourage people to break the law.
“I am in favour of us assembling, if that means not breaking the law.Breaking the law is something I cannot support,” he said at the Parliament lobby a few days before the violence-inflicted rally.
He wanted BERSIH leaders to be responsible and not reject the Government’s offer of alternative rally sites.“The whole idea is to protest. Does it matter where the protest is held?” he asked.
He noted that although most street demonstrations start with peaceful intentions, they often turn violent and chaotic. True enough, the rally turned ugly with Police, rioters and Opposition lawmakers pointing fingers at each other over the mess.
On the other side of the divide, the MCA, UMNO and MIC were overjoyed and quickly latched on to his statement as an example of what they were also saying – that the rally would descend into chaos.They succeeded in rubbing salt into the wounds of the Pakatan and its baby, BERSIH.
His comments drew an immediate rebuke from Scretary-General Lim Guan Eng and DAP cyber-troopers unleashed a torrent of criticism, calling Tunku Abdul Aziz all sorts of names, ranging from an UMNO stooge to a sleeping agent and a Pakatan enemy.
Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan voiced what was on the minds of many in the party by asking Tunku Aziz to quit voluntarily.“He should quit his senator’s post as well,” Manoharan said.
Now, there is speculation that Tunku Abdul Aziz would be dropped as a senator when his term ends on May 30. Guan Eng, who is Penang Chief Minister, is expected to table a motion at the state assembly sitting today to nominate academician Ariffin Omar and MTUC chief Syed Shair Syed Mohamud as new senators. One of them will replace Tunku Abdul Aziz.
Months earlier, Tunku Abdul Aziz had crossed swords with PAS, the other ally of the DAP in the Pakatan, speaking out against deputy president Mohamad Sabu and calling him a “jester” over the Bukit Kepong incident.
Over two dozen Policemen had died fighting communist terrorists who attacked the Police station in Bukit Kepong more than 60 years ago.
Sabu had praised the communist guerillas and their leader Mat Indera as patriots, which led to Tunku Abdul Aziz criticising him.
A corporate person, Tunku Abdul Aziz had worked in Guthrie, Dunlop Malaysia and Sime Darby and was a Director from 1985 at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.He returned home in 1992 to found and head for a while TI Malaysia, the global coalition against corruption. Today, he holds numerous advisory positions globally, some with the United Nations.
It would be the unkindest cut of all if the DAP decides to sack Tunku Abdul Aziz because they have a lot of leaders to toe the line but only one to go against it.His rarity should save him from the disciplinarian’s axe.