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DAP vice chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, in channel NTV7 – “I didn’t join PR, I joined DAP

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Petaling Jaya (May 14) : DAP vice chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, given a prime time slot on UMNO-controlled television channel NTV7, tonight announced his resignation from his party post and membership, saying he would notify the leadership.

In an hour long interview aired by the station, Aziz, whose remarks criticising the Bersih 3.0 rally of April 28 brought out into the open his differences with party leadership, called on the public to support the Barisan Nasional government’s ‘transformation’ programme.

“The government is listening. Although I belong to the opposition party, I can see the merit of what they are doing. Give them a chance to show that what they are doing is for the benefit of all,” said the 78-year old, whose senatorship was not renewed by the Penang state government following his remarks deriding peaceful protesters in Kuala Lumpur.

Suggestive questioning, NTV7 style

In the hour long programme in which a pair of hosts threw suggestive questions on him, Aziz took pains to stress that he was not against electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0’s demands, but was only against its decision to defy the police’s warning against participating in a sit-in at Dataran Merdeka.

Last month, having denied entry to the historic public square, some 200,000 people gathered for the Bersih 3.0 rally in several parts of the capital, calling for urgent electoral reforms be carried out before the next general election.

Aziz repeated the now familiar argument in the mainstream media accusing Bersih leadership as serving a political agenda, saying it was “unfortunate” that the popular NGO was seen supporting opposition politicians.

Turning to the Bar Council which has recently come under attack from BN leaders and top police brass over its stand last week condemning the police for the way it treated protesters last month, Aziz chided it for being “more concerned with politics”.

“The Bar until recently had a commanding influence and seen as fighters for justice and equity. But recently, for several years, it has been seen as being more concerned with politics,” he said, agreeing with criticisms by UMNO leaders against the Bar’s unanimous resolution last Friday.

Many times during the interview Aziz described himself as “naive” and “stupid” for his decision to join politics.

Recalling the decision to join DAP in 2008, Aziz said he was obliging veteran politician Lim Kit Siang, whom he described as “the one man I trust”, who offered him a platform in the party. In the interview, Aziz however disputed suggestions that DAP was a Chinese-based party, saying the party’s meetings were conducted in the national language, something he said was proof that it was “trying to change”.

‘I didn’t join PR’

Before ending his interview with an announcement that he would tender his resignation, Aziz claimed that he chose to stay on in the party for fear of “letting my friend down if I withdraw”, adding that his role as vice chairman was “somewhat circumscribed in that you are not totally free”.

Asked why he had not joined PKR instead, Aziz argued he did not know its de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as much as he knew Lim. According to Aziz, he had only joined DAP and not Pakatan Rakyat.

“I didn’t join PR, I joined DAP. Don’t expect my views to coincide with theirs 100 per cent.”

Aziz however refused to be drawn in by the host’s allegation that Anwar had a “questionable image and reputation”, saying DAP’s agreement to appoint Anwar as a prime minister in the event PR governs at the Federal level could have been “for the sake of the coalition’s unity”.

“Anwar seems to be the person best suited,” he added.

‘PAS no pushover’

He brushed aside allegations that DAP had been able to put pressure on fellow coalition partner PAS, stressing that the Islamic party was “no pushover”.

“You can’t subordinate PAS. They have their own ideas and strength,” he said, adding that differences among PR partners were usual and expected.

Aziz however made clear his support to the BN government, saying it had done a “reasonable job”, although he quickly added: “But they could have done better”.

He said the BN government was moving in the “right direction” in the much-trumpeted ‘transformation’ agenda of prime minister Najib Razak.

“They are on the right track. I have absolute confidence,” declared Aziz, repeating a familiar argument by BN leaders that governing a multiracial country like Malaysia is a “monumental task” – something which Aziz said the PR coalition had “no experience” in. – Harakah Daily