STOPPING THE GULLIBILITY: Tunku Aziz learns fast that DAP's 'free speech' is doublespeak
SENATOR Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, once the DAP's much-hyped "towering Malaysian", is scrupulously principled, in the mould of the right-thinking English gentleman guided by the spiritual laws of cricket.
Until April 26 that is, when he disavowed Bersih 3.0's inevitable mob violence, now the default mode of operation for future political strategies of the opposition to coerce the government to act emphatically hard.
Tunku Aziz saw Bersih 3.0 as "not cricket", which is to be honest about a bad situation: instead of being thanked for his constructive criticism, he has been ungentlemanly bashed, his forthrightness costly.
Now, Tunku Aziz, to the DAP's hierarchy, is an unrepentant pariah, an "embarrassment" to the party and someone who must be sacked.
The DAP acted quickly to not extend his senatorship for another three years but his vice-chairman position, that of the ornamental DAP Malay leader, remains tenuous.
Still, the elderly prince remains steadfast that the street demonstration that Bersih stubbornly propagated goes against his canon but what is he really now? In all that idealism and soulful conscience, he is a political naiveté. Even at 78.
Tunku Aziz may have only realised it late but he foolishly unloaded all that goodness onto a party that disdains such punctiliousness, especially when it results in an internal backlash.
For Tunku Aziz, it was political paradise at first when he joined the DAP in 2008 but now, it's hell in disguise and for that, he should be arraigned for the simple crime of gullibility.
Let's get some perspective. Prior to his foray in DAP, Tunku Aziz set up the Malaysian chapter of Transparency International in 1998 and went on to use that key position to fight corruption and promote good governance in various international bodies.
Tunku Aziz was bold and assiduous in his criticism against the Malaysian government; his passing of tough judgment on issues of corruption accepted in good faith.
But ask this: rather than continue with his good work, why would he, with his impeccable background, invest his worth in a political party known more for its street-brawling strategies than civility?
In the hoopla surrounding his initial tryst with the DAP after the 2008 general election, including heaps of praise as a towering Malaysian and a big catch for the DAP, nobody questioned that his uncompromising criticisms as a Transparency International executive was actually a trailer to his big move to DAP.
In a nutshell, Tunku Aziz's years in TI were an unwitting preamplifier of DAP's roughshod tactics against their enemy, Barisan Nasional.
If Tunku Aziz had been circumspect about his reputation, he would sooner maintain his neutrality than become a partisan player. That Tunku Aziz gambled with his credentials was somehow overlooked.
At the press conference announcing his newly-minted DAP membership, Tunku Aziz declared that he had been "monitoring the party's progress without their knowledge" for 20 years. His monitoring, on hindsight, was superficial at best and blind at worse.
Had he been thorough, Tunku Aziz would have been horrified at the risks, knowing that the DAP:
MANIPULATES its dubious "democratic principles" to ruthlessly maintain a father-son dynasty;
REVERTS unpremeditatedly to its fundamental ethnic shape to win support despite bragging endlessly about its shape-shifting Malaysian Malaysia credo;
LAMBASTS a sitting deputy prime minister for sexual impropriety but then defends him legally and politically against the government after realising they could score huge points with the electorate;
SPEAKS feverishly of free speech but is childishly prickly when faced with stinging criticisms, to the point of barring the media and gagging members.
(By now, Tunku Aziz would have fully appreciated this DAP paradox).
For now, Tunku Aziz's diminished time in the DAP begs one outcome: will he dish out four-year's worth of dirt on the slick machinations of DAP now that he has been excoriated?
If it is any comfort to Tunku Aziz, he shouldn't be too hard on himself. DAP, and in equal measure, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader whom they collude with, have fooled hundreds, if not thousands, of people with good conscience over the decades.
Just ask Dr Chandra Muzaffar.