Tunku Aziz was offered fellowship before he quit, DAP sources say
KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim was offered a senior fellowship in Penang Institute, the state government’s think-tank, days before he announced his resignation from DAP, party sources have told The Malaysian Insider.
It is understood that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will issue an official response to clear the air about events leading to Tunku Aziz’s resignation from the party, after the openly criticised the Penang chief minister in an interview published in The Star today.
Tunku Aziz told The Star that Lim had called him on Sunday offering him a senior fellowship in Penang Institute and “[dangled] travel as an attraction” after his tenure as senator was not renewed.
“Then yesterday, 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.
“Did he think I was that kind of person? This man has no sense of decency. The only word is a Malay word, and it’s ‘biadap’,” he was quoted by the English daily as saying.
But sources within DAP told The Malaysian Insider that the job offer was “genuine”, and that it had nothing to do with Tunku Aziz leaving the party.
“Really, it was a genuine job offer, the same annual package offered to other senior fellows,” said one source, adding that the offer was made prior to Tunku Aziz announcing his resignation on national television.
In today’s interview, Tunku Aziz also said he does not trust the DAP secretary-general, ending any hopes of bringing the former party vice-chairman back into the fold after his resignation on Monday.
Previously, Lim had publicly censured Tunku Aziz for saying that Bersih should not go ahead with an illegal street protest despite the party making a clear stand to back the electoral reforms movement’s April 28 rally.
The founding president of Transparency International Malaysia told The Star the rebuke gave the impression that what he had said was against the party as well as Bersih, and this was why he decided to “withdraw from the party.”
“I am not against the party. I am just against the attitude taken by the party secretary-general, particularly when he falsely accused me of going against the party decision to support Bersih. I have always stood for free and fair elections,” he said.
A distant relative of the Kedah royalty, he said he has always supported Bersih but only disagreed with proceeding with an illegal gathering after the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and police had refused to allow the movement to use the historic square for their rally.
The ex-Bank Negara advisor also said that there was “absolutely no question” that this was his last venture into politics despite Lim saying he will try to convince Tunku Aziz to rethink his resignation.
Although Tunku Aziz had earlier said he withdrew his candidacy as a senator for the party, he revealed in the interview that he only did so after DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang “saw me and said ... it may be a bit difficult for them to nominate me again.”
The 78-year-old also said in the interview with The Star that he felt “a deep sense of relief at being freed from the tyranny of a demagogue.”
DAP has tried to reach out to Malays, who make up 60 per cent of the 12-million strong electorate, by recruiting leaders such as Tunku Aziz.
But he has conceded his failure to win over the community to the Chinese-dominated party that has been accused by Umno of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam.