By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim’s recent fallout with the DAP confirms the party leadership’s lack of tolerance for dissenting views, Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Teng Chang Yeow has said.
The Gerakan secretary-general pointed out that Tunku Aziz was a “principled man” and it was unsurprising that he had chosen to walk away from the party and his post as vice-chairman instead of staying on to fight.
“The lack of tolerance in the party has been confirmed. Over the years, we have seen how the DAP leadership; they just do not condone dissent. And to this kind of extent,” Teng (picture) said, referring to how the party had not renewed Tunku Aziz’s senatorship.
Tunku Aziz, the founder of Transparency International Malaysia, had recently quit the DAP after a disagreement with its leaders over the recent Bersih 3.0 protest.
His decision had come shortly after he withdrew from renewing his senatorship, saying party leaders had told him that doing so would likely cause discontent among members.
While Tunku Aziz had insisted that Bersih 3.0’s stubbornness in using Dataran Merdeka for its April 28 protest showed the group had strayed from its objective to fight for free and fair polls, the DAP had defended it, saying it was the group’s democratic right.
Tunku Aziz later openly criticised the DAP, even calling its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng “biadap” (uncouth) and untrustworthy.
He also alleged that the Penang chief minister had had called him on May 13 to offer him a senior fellowship in think-tank Penang Institute and “[dangled’ travel as an attraction” after his tenure as senator was not renewed.
“Zairil Khir Johari (Lim’s political secretary) called and repeated the offer and stated there was a stipend of RM50,000 to go with it.
“Totally, totally insulting, and I could only conclude that it had come from someone who had no sense and not even a modicum of respect,” he had said.
“First, they deny him the avenue to renew his senatorship... and now this. What do you expect him to do,” said Teng in a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider.
He added that Tunku Aziz had been doing a good job for Penang as a senator since he was given the post three years ago.
But, he pointed out, DAP leaders were likely afraid that Tunku Aziz would again speak the truth and criticise his own party in the future in the Dewan Negara if his senatorship was renewed.
Tunku Aziz had first raised his disagreement with Bersih 3.0 during debates on Bersih 3.0 in Dewan Negara, just days before the event was held.
“So they are worried and pulled the platform away from him. He is a principled man. A grassroots man would fight back and cause more disunity,” Teng said,
As such, he added, the DAP was lucky that Tunku Aziz had merely decided to pull out from the party instead of going to the media and lashing out by pointing out the party’s other weaknesses.
“But still... his move simply confirms the party’s lack of tolerance,” he said.
Last Friday, Tunku Aziz made an impassioned call to the people to support the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Give Najib the chance and time to see his transformation programmes currently being implemented come to fruition,” he had said.