GEORGE TOWN: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has promised to persuade Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim to change his mind about leaving the party and to remain as its vice chairman.
Tunku Abdul Aziz, 78, made a sudden announcement on his resignation during an interview with a television station on Monday. He cited "irreconcilable diff erences" with the party leadership following his dissenting views on the Bersih 3.0 rally.
Lim said at a press conference yesterday he hoped they could resolve whatever differences in the spirit of comradeship.
"I will contact him to discuss and hope he can change his mind about leaving," he said.
Contacted by The Malay Mail, Tunku Abdul Aziz declined an interview.
"I despise frogs. They are free to do what they want," he said via SMS in reference to any quarters trying to discredit his action by associating it to "hopping" to another party.
Lim said DAP believed in freedom of speech, and that every member and leader had a right to differ.
"I don't agree that any disciplinary action should be taken against Tunku for differing with the party on Bersih's right to do the sit-in protest in Dataran Merdeka," he said.
He said there was unhappiness in the party when Tunku Abdul Aziz openly went against its position on Bersih before the rally on April 28.
"Just as Tunku has the right to openly voice his dissent, the party's right to state its position on such fundamental policy position as Bersih must also be respected." Lim said.
"We did not punish Tunku for voicing his dissent openly nor, at any stage, ask him to leave or resign. I feel sad that he wants to leave because of differences over Bersih."
He said Tunku Abdul Aziz joined DAP in 2008 as the party offered a platform to promote integrity and fight corruption.
"Penang's PR (Pakatan Rakyat) government had taken the lead with open competitive tenders, open disclosure of government contracts and public declaration of assets by leaders," he said.
Tunku Abdul Aziz announced his resignation during an interview with ntv7 in which he told the interviewer he chose not to be renominated as a senator when the term ended on May 30.
The veteran was made DAP's first senator from Penang in July 2009 but was not re-appointed.
Tunku Abdul Aziz said he was not sacked from his senatorship position by DAP but the leadership should subject him to the "same disciplinary procedure as any other party member".
Feeling his position was untenable and with no punishment forthcoming, the former Transparency International (Malaysia) vice-chairman decided to resign to avoid further embarrassment.