KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Lim Kit Siang has called Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim “a man of principle and integrity” despite the former DAP vice-chairman accusing Lim’s son of being untrustworthy and lacking decency.
Kit Siang’s son Guan Eng, the party secretary general, had publicly rebuked the ex-Bank Negara advisor for not toeing the party line and refusing to support Bersih’s April 28 “illegal street protest.”
But party stalwart Kit Siang, whom Tunku Aziz said he still respected and has a decades-long friendship with, called on the founding president of Transparency International Malaysia and DAP to “move on in our separate but still common destiny to create a clean Malaysia.”
“I would have been the first to welcome any change of mind by Tunku Abdul Aziz about his resignation as DAP national vice chairman and DAP member but I fully respect his decision if his mind is set on resignation.
“Over the decades, I have known Tunku Aziz as a man of principle and integrity and my views have not changed one dot, as Tunku Aziz would have known in our three recent meetings, twice at his house and the third time in Parliament,” he said in a press statement this evening.
The DAP parliamentary leader added that “if a parting of ways with his resignation from the party is unavoidable, let it be as gentlemanly as possible with the minimum of rancour and acrimony.”
Guan Eng also refused earlier today to “exchange personal attacks” with Tunku Aziz despite the latter claiming the Penang chief minister had insulted him by “dangling” a job offer before he quit the party on Monday night.
Guan Eng had also said in an immediate response yesterday that he would try to convince the former party vice-chairman to rethink his quit move.
If a parting of ways with his resignation from the party is unavoidable, let it be as gentlemanly as possible with the minimum of rancour and acrimony. — Lim Kit Siang
But Tunku Aziz, who was the party’s most senior Malay leader, has since openly criticised the Bagan MP in an interview with The Star published this morning, saying Guan Eng was “biadap” (uncouth) and that he did not trust him.
“I have no wish to exchange personal attacks against Tunku but to convey the party’s thanks for his service during his four years as national vice-chair of DAP. Time will prove who is on the right side of history,” Guan Eng said in a statement that signalled the end of efforts to woo back the 78-year-old.
Tunku Aziz told The Star that Guan Eng 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 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 for 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.