The DAP vice-president however calls it a “small sacrifice”.
Rumours had surfaced earlier that Tunku Abdul Aziz would be booted from his post and that his term ending May 30 would not be renewed as a result of him breaking ranks with his party leadership by publicly opposing the rally for clean and fair elections.
A senatorship is for three years with a maximum of two terms. The 78-year-old Tunku Abdul Aziz is the first senator from the DAP.
Just a few days before the rally was set to take place on April 28, Tunku Abdul Aziz had said that the event would encourage Malaysians to “break the law”.
He also questioned the Bersih 3.0 organisers’ insistance that the rally would be a peaceful one and noted that many such rallies began with a similar intent but ended up in violence and chaos.
Tunku Abdul Aziz’s words rang true on April 28 when police and protesters clashed an hour after the rally began.
In the aftermath, he appeared to pin the responsibility of the violence on Bersih and was quoted saying that they “are not a group of angels descended from heaven who are completely blameless.”
Tunku Abdul Aziz has acknowleged that these statements were what led to him losing his Senator post.
“Yes it is true that I will not be re-elected,” he told Bernama. “It is merely a small sacrifice.”
Tunku Abdul Aziz joined DAP in 2008 and was elected as a Senator the following year as part of the Penang state government quota.
Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, had earlier reprimanded him for placing the party in an “embarrasing position” with his comments on Bersih 3.0.
No quarrel with DAP
Speaking to reporters in Parliament today, Tunku Abdul Aziz said that he was not against Bersih’s objectives, but rather its insistence to gather at Dataran Merdeka.
“I am not against Bersih per say, I think they’re doing a marvelous job, because we all want free and fair elections.”
“…But what I was against and continue to oppose is the fact that, while they’re organising these rallies, you should not break the law,” he said.
He added the issue was not about Bersih’s choice of venues, but rather about a clean electoral system.
“The venue has no relevance. You can have it anywhere…[If] you can have [the venue] under a durian tree, [what] does it matter? As long as you get what you want,” he said.
He further clarified that there was no quarrel between him and his party.
Even so, Tunku Abdul Aziz said that he had his own point of view, even if it differed from the DAP’s.
“I recognise that they have their point of view, but I would also like to have my point of view.”
“I’m a free person although I belong to the party, but there are things that I won’t agree. So if I don’t agree, dont think you’d want me to sit quietly. I have to express my views,” he said.
Asked if his dropping as Senator was punishment for breaking ranks, Tunku Abdul Aziz laughed, saying: “I suppose it’s open to interpretation. I leave it to you to interpret. You put the thing in sequence, what is your conclusion?”
Party veteran Lim Kit Siang meanwhile tweeted that Dr Ariffin Omar will be appointed Senator in Tunku Abdul Aziz’s slot.