JOCELINE TAN : THE GENTLEMAN IN AZIZ GIVES WAY

Wednesday May 30, 2012

The gentleman in Aziz gives way

ANALYSIS By JOCELINE TAN joceline@thestar.com.my

Tunku Aziz Ibrahim has vowed that he is finished with politics after his headline-making exit from DAP but he intends to speak out on what he views as right and wrong in Malaysian politics.

FEW would have equated the old world gentleman in Tunku Aziz Ibrahim to a volcano but reporters who covered the press conference at his house recently thought that the former DAP politician had finally “erupted”.

Tunku Aziz is still simmering with anger after his headline-making exit from DAP.

A great deal of the lingering emotion has to do with the way the DAP cyber-troopers have maligned him.

They called him names and created stories over his fallout with the DAP, alleging that he was a bankrupt and was paid huge sums of money to leave the party. Tunku Aziz calls them “stormtroopers”.

For Tunku Aziz’s generation, stormtroopers are associated with Adolf Hitler’s private army. To the newer generation, they are the white-suited robots who suppress revolts in the Galactic Empire of Star Wars.

“What really upsets me is them saying that Umno made me leave DAP and MCA paid me millions of ringgit,” said the man who had spearheaded Transparency International Malaysia.

He is not used to the cruel Internet world where people can say anything and everything and get away with it.

He said he is weathering the storm and he can see that his attackers are following a set script that has gone from “canonisation to demonisation”.

He recalled how he was lauded by the Pakatan Rakyat crowd when he joined DAP but is now being chastised. However, he is not going to let things be.

“I will continue to speak out for what I believe is right,” he said.

But his commentary has extended into political issues now that he has had a taste of politics and an inside look into the political culture of the DAP.

He had much to say about Karpal Singh’s purported slip-of-tongue reference to “Prime Minister Lim Guan Eng”.

He also questioned Pakatan’s ability to rule the country if they came to power, especially given that they have been unable to agree on a shadow Cabinet.

And who can forget his biadap (insolent) remark about DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng?

What Tunku Aziz said about DAP and its leaders is not new.

Others have gone down the same road and some like Dr Kua Kia Soong have even published books about their experiences in the party.

Like Tunku Aziz, they had gone into the party believing that it was a democratic party – as its name suggests.

But like many other political parties in this country, all that democratic stuff that “the people are the boss” is just a public jingle, purely for public consumption.

Behind the scenes, the real boss is the party leader and you either do it his way or it’s the highway for you.

Tunku Aziz is not prepared to condemn everything about the Government as wrong and useless.

He is basically an intelligent and reasonable man who sees the good as well as the bad in people and the Government.

He has been critical of the corruption and abuses that he sees in the Government but he can compare between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

And, he has asked Malaysians to give Najib’s transformation policies a chance to come to fruition.

He has also been increasingly un-comfortable about the way the DAP attacks everything connected to the Government – Umno, the police and armed forces, the MACC, the civil service and the Election Commission.

All these bodies are basically dominated by the Malays.

As a result, DAP’s attacks often come across as attacks against the Malays or worse, anti-Malay.

Besides, Tunku Aziz’s brother was a police officer who has published his memoirs of his days in the force and has recently launched the Malay edition of his book, A Policeman Remembers.

But even as Tunku Aziz gets ruffled by the awful and libellous things said about him on the Internet, he also feels that a great load has been lifted from him since quitting the DAP.

“When I accepted Lim Kit Siang’s invitation to join DAP, it was because I saw the party as a platform for the fight for integrity in public life. But what I saw was not quite right, and I cannot be silent,” he said.

He realised that he had made a wrong move or, as he put it, “got himself into a box” within months of joining DAP in 2008.

That was the first time he contemplated resigning. His notion of what DAP is about was quite different from what he saw up close.

But he held his tongue then. For instance, he thought that the declaration of assets exercised by the Penang Government leaders to be a joke.

He told people privately that it was “quite nonsensical” because a proper assets declaration should extend to family members like their spouses and children.

He recalled how when Thai political leaders declared their assets, most of these, like property and shares, were held in their spouses’ names. He also held his tongue when his proposal for the Penang Govern-ment to form an Ethics Committee came to nothing.

The second time he tried to resign was more than a year ago when he decided the DAP’s brand of politics was not for him. Being in the party was like signing away his rights to comment and disagree. But Kit Siang and Guan Eng met him at a downtown hotel and dissuaded him from quitting.

His description of his altercation with Guan Eng over the Bersih issue as the straw that broke the camel’s back was his third and final test. He knew it was time to leave.

Tunku Aziz felt he lost his credibility because of the compromises he had to make as a member of DAP. But DAP has also lost some credibility with Tunku Aziz’s absence from the party.

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