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Tunku Aziz Quits DAP
His decision to quit the party, which was announced tonight, comes as a major blow to the DAP as it gears up for the general election which some believe could be held as early as next month.
He, however, will not join another political party, quashing rumours that he may defect to UMNO. “I’m not a frog,” he insisted.
In tendering his resignation, Tunku Abdul Aziz acknowledged that by exercising his right of dissent, he has gone against the party’s position on BERSIH 3.0 – where some 200,000 took to the streets last month in demanding for free and fair elections, resulting in clashes between the protesters and the Police.
He said due to his open disagreement with the party, he had chosen not to be re-nominated as a senator for Penang, indicating that he was not sacked from his Dewan Negara’s post by DAP when news broke that his term ending May 30 was not renewed.
“I felt that my position was no longer tenable and that I would no longer be able to serve Penang and my party,” the one-term senator told Malaysiakini.
According to Tunku Abdul Aziz, he had suggested to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also Penang Chief Minister, that the party should subject him to the “same disciplinary procedure as any other party member” over his action.
“Unfortunately, up to now, that was not forthcoming. In order not to prolong the matter and avoid further embarrassment, I have decided to relinquish my post of DAP Vice-chairperson and tender my resignation as a party member with immediate effect.”
‘I had to draw the line’
Tunku Abdul Aziz stressed that he expressed his views on BERSIH3.0 out of “personal conscience” and it was done based on his “sincere belief that our country will always take precedence over sectarian interest”.
“I had to draw the line and I chose to affirm my right of dissent when as a legislator in the Senate, I felt defying the law was unacceptable.”
He said he had always advocated the need for free and fair elections, and that he had been consistent and unwavering on the matter.
“Throughout my career as a professional manager and a civil society advocate, I stood for respect for the Rule of Law, good governance and proper public conduct,” said Tunku Abdul Aziz, who is the founder of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M).
“I criticised the organisers of BERSIH3.0 when they refused to accept Merdeka Stadium as the alternative site after the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, with the authority of our courts, declared that Dataran Merdeka was out of bounds and violators of the court order would be breaking the law.
“The right to assemble was granted, and I was convinced then as I am now that if Merdeka Stadium was accepted as the venue for the sit-down rally, the ugly scenes we witnessed on April 28, 2012 would not have occurred and our country would have been spared of yet another trauma after BERSIH 2.0 in July last year.”
Fitting end to short political career
Abdul Aziz joined DAP in August 2008 – five months after political tsunami which saw the Pakatan Rakyat opposition making significant gains at the last general election, winning five states including Selangor and Penang.
A year later, he was appointed senator representing Penang, giving him the distinction of being the first DAP senator.
A distant member of the Kedah royal family, Abdul Aziz began his career in the police force before joining Guthrie Corporation and later served as an adviser for Bank Negara. He was instrumental in setting up TI-M, an NGO dedicated to fighting corruption.
Abdul Aziz described his resignation today as a fitting end to his brief foray into politics, which lasted no more than four years.
“In traveling throughout the length and breadth of our country over the last few years, I have met and interacted with a lot of Malaysians from all walks life and learned much, which I now can put to good use for the next phase of my life,” he told Malaysiakini.
“After a brief period of rest and reflection, I shall return to civil society advocacy and public service. I stand ready to serve our country to the best of my ability.”
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