Response to statements by Tunku Aziz and Anthony Loke

Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, The Malaysian Insider

I will be writing about the statement by Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim and the response by Anthony Loke Siew Fook more fully in my usual column on Friday, but for now, I emphasise the following:

It is unfortunate that private discussions have been made public. Political parties should be able to freely engage any Malaysian citizen to discuss confidential proposals within the boundaries of the law. I am grateful to Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, for his tweet: “klu x terima, kita senyap jer. Hormatilah privasinya. Mcm meminang x jadi, x perlu heboh.”

However, now that this has been brought to the public domain, I can confirm that the descriptions of the contents of my conversation with the DAP some months ago are broadly accurate. As it was an informal conversation, no minutes were taken. It should be noted that I have been invited to similar informal and private conversations with representatives of other political parties as well.

As I have written in my articles over the past five years, I respect and admire principled and hardworking politicians regardless of the party they belong to. However, in my view, no political party today articulates the vision of our Ayahanda Kemerdekaan with sufficient conviction and consistency for me to consider joining them.

It has been alleged that it is improper for a child of a Ruler to participate in party politics. However, five children of Rulers have already done so, namely:

a) YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah of Kedah (MP for Kuala Muda 1955-1970 and Prime Minister 1957-1970; Umno and Semangat 46)

b) YAM Tunku Panglima Besar Tunku Abdullah ibni Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Negri Sembilan (MP for Rawang 1964-1974; Umno)

c) YAM Tengku Sri Paduka Raja Tengku Ibrahim ibni Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah of Terengganu (ADUN for Ajil 1990-1995; Semangat 46 and PAS)

d) YAM Tengku Dato’ Sri Azlan ibni Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang (MP for Jerantut 1999-present and Deputy Minister of Transport 1999-2008; Semangat 46 and Umno)

e) YAM Dato’ Seri DiRaja Syed Razlan Jamalullail ibni Syed Putra Jamalullail of Perlis (MP for Arau 2004-2008 and ADUN for Pauh 2008-present; Umno)

Malaysian civil society space has grown significantly in the past few years, and I have long been active in that environment, since before my father was elected the eleventh Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan. It is in this space that I wish to continue to contribute, particularly through the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and the various foundations in which I serve.