Penang Institute still wants Tunku Aziz
KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The senior fellowship at Penang Institute is still on the table for Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim despite the former DAP vice-chairman’s resignation from the party on Monday.
The state-funded think tank told a press conference today it would be “very happy if he accepts it” and the offer was not contingent on the founding president of Transparency International Malaysia being a party member.
“It has been brought to my attention that this offer has been misinterpreted as a compensation by Penang Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) to Tunku Aziz for political reasons.
“I want to make it very clear that the decision to make an offer to Tunku Aziz originated here at the Penang Institute,” The Star quoted executive director Datuk Woo Wing Thye as saying.
He repeated DAP’s stand that the offer was made when the institute learnt Tunku Aziz decided not to seek renomination as a senator.
“We realised that we had the possibility of bringing to Penang Institute a well-respected public intellectual with an international reputation,” Woo said.
Tunku Aziz, who was the party’s most senior Malay leader, quit DAP on national television after being publicly rebuked by secretary general Lim for not supporting the April 28 Bersih rally, which the former called “an illegal street protest.”
He then openly criticised DAP, singling out Lim for being “biadap (uncouth)” and untrustworthy.
The ex-Bank Negara advisor 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.
“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.
But DAP and the Penang Institute have insisted that the job offer was “genuine” and that it had nothing to do with Tunku Aziz leaving the party or to compensate the loss of his senatorship.
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.