Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Ditched' by Liow, what's next for Soi Lek?

A FALLOUT between Dr Chua Soi Lek and Liow Tiong Lai's faction seems to be taking shape with a few days more to go till the March 22 nomination day for MCA's fresh party polls.

The "cracks" had started to appear since last week after some 30 divisions made appeals to former president Ong Ka Ting to make a comeback to put the party in perspective.

The signs became more evident on Tuesday when Ka Ting announced his decision to offer himself as a presidential candidate in the party polls scheduled on March 28.

chua-liow-mcaThe initial pact between the Chua-Liow group was apparent when both sides handed over their resignation letters less than 72 hours before delegates were due to assemble for the party's annual party conference on March 7.

With their resignations, it paved the way for fresh elections of the central committee.

To finish off Soi Lek

Party insiders said that Liow was likely to abandon Chua and team up with his former boss whom he was allegedly involved in a snoop squad to spy on Chua during Ka Ting's tenure as party president.

A party insider felt that Ka Ting has some unfinished business and intend to finish off Chua once and for all this time by contesting for the president's post.

They said Chua being a seasoned politician is beginning to see a clearer picture of the political equation in the run up to the fresh polls.

The shift in allegiance from Liow's faction to Ka Ting's group would be obvious. It is only a matter of time when the lines of allegiance are drawn.

Liow's other supporters which include former central committee (CC) members Wee Jeck Seng, Dr Hou Kok Chung, Wong Nai Chee are known to be hardcore Ka Ting supporters and would obviously switch alliances to their former boss.

The insider said Ka Ting's elder brother Ka Chuan will stay out for the top posts in the elections and would campaign alongside his younger sibling to give him that much needed help.
Ka Chuan would most likely be rewarded with a secretary-general's post if his brother were to win.

Another clear sign leading towards the Ong brothers-Liow pact was the backing for Ka Ting by the Bentong division whose chairman Hoh Khai Mun is closely linked to Liow.

Both Chua and Tee Keat may however inherit some "backlash" votes from supporters of Liow who may not be happy over Ka Ting making a comeback after lying low all these while.

Lone ranger now

With Liow's faction switching alliances, it appears that Chua may be left standing alone without a running mate in his quest to unseat incumbent president Ong Tee Keat. But talk is that Kong Cho Ha who commands quite a sizable support in his Perak home base which has 326 central delegates may want to contest the deputy president's post and was open to forming strategic alliances.

Given such a scenario, with the announcement of Tee Keat defending his post, all eyes are now on Chua whether he would defend his deputy president's post or join in the fray for a three-cornered fight for the top post.

A central delegate said the best bet for Chua now was to team up with Tee Keat again and defend his deputy president's post by pulling together their supporters. Both leaders should let bygones be bygones and work towards a born again MCA, he said.

ong-chua-ong-mcaHe said both Tee Keat and Chua could perhaps work out a succession plan with a time frame in place to groom future leaders to take over the helm.

In that way, come March 28, delegates can have a better inkling of what to expect of the party's future and reform agenda thus help them to be decisive in making the right choice at the ballot boxes.

Another party insider said Chua, although has come thus far, should perhaps abandon his plan to go for the No 1 post and restrategise and throw his support for Tee Keat.

Chua must take into consideration that Ka Ting would have made some calculations and would have been confident of garnering enough votes to win before deciding to offer himself for the presidency.

The insider said that Chua must also bear in mind that the 900 votes being bandied about regarding his support base might have "dissipated".

It must be noted that the figure was concocted by the media based on the number of delegate signatures he received and submitted to the party to force an extraordinary general meeting last October.

The signatures could not be construed as an outright support for him but rather an endorsement for an extraordinary general meeting.

It cannot be certain that those signatures would translate to actual votes in the ballot boxes.

Teaming up with Tee Keat again?

A safe bet for Chua would be to strike a deal with Tee Keat. A combined support of the two senior leaders would be a mighty force to be reckoned with by their foes.

A central delegate said he did not mind voting for Tee Keat and Chua for the No 1 and No 2 posts respectively if they could come to a compromise and work together for the better good of the party.

He said based on the 603 delegates who turned up at the AGM on March 7, the incumbent president enjoys a solid 600 votes.

This was despite calls made by Tee Keat's detractors to delegates that they should stay away from the AGM, claiming that it was illegal.

There could be more who had been deceived or confused by the whole episode that they had stayed away as one central delegate puts it.

The actual support for Tee Keat could be much more, said the delegate. "Many could be like me who did not turn up because they had other commitments and that there was no urgency in attending as no elections was being held," he said.

He however said that he will be at the March 28 elections to cast his vote for the sake of integrity, transparency and accountability.

courtesy of Malaysian Mirror

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