Thursday, March 04, 2010

MCA stun by en bloc resignation

The MCA, embroiled in a protracted leadership spat, was stunned by the en bloc resignation today of two-thirds of its elected central committee (CC) members, which forces the party to hold fresh elections within a month. Dr Chua Soi Lek unexpectedly announced his resignation as the deputy president and a CC member today, along with seven other CC members, at a news conference at the party headquarters. He said he had not informed party president Ong Tee Keat earlier of his decision to quit. NONEA faction led by vice-president Liow Tiong Lai, which has been pushing for fresh polls, delivered to the party headquarters today the quit letters of 13 CC members, taking the total resignations to 21 or two-thirds of the 31 elected CC members. The party constitution provides for fresh polls to be held once two-thirds of the CC members resign. Chua said his resignation was in keeping with the promise he had made at the party's extraordinary general meeting last year where he had stated that fresh elections might have to be held to overcome the upheaval in the party. "What's important is the party and not the leaders or their self interests," he said. Chua said that from January until yesterday, he had received the resignation letters of the seven elected CC members who quit along with him today. In all, the 21 CC members included three vice-presidents - Liow and Kong, who are cabinet ministers, and Tan Kok Hong. Another vice-president and cabinet minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, who holds the tourism portfolio, is abroad. MCA, the country's largest Chinese political party, held its last polls in October 2008, with Ong voted in as the new president. Ironically, Ong had said in an interview with Bernama that feedback from the ground and the fewer public arguments of late among the party leaders were reflective of a gradual improvement in the level of public confidence in the MCA.

Liow denies collusion with Chua Liow denied any prior knowledge of Chua's intention to resign. NONE"No, I got to know through all the SMSes," he said, adding that he felt greatly vindicated by the eight resignations announced by Chua. "In accordance with Article 41 of the party constitution, fresh elections at the central leadership level shall be called to elect a new dynamic team of central leaders with integrity to lead the party and to fulfill the aspirations of the members," Liow told reporters. Meanwhile, CC member Ti Lian Ker said that with the term of the current leadership due to expire next year, fresh polls now would only intensify the conflict in the party. The new leaders would only serve for about a year, and fresh polls at this juncture would definitely sharpen the conflict in the party, he said when contacted by Bernama. He said that if Chua, Liow and the other CC members who resigned could come up with a compromise team within a month, then fresh elections would not be necessary. "I hope the leaders will come to a consensus and put the party's interests above their personal agenda," Ti said. He said he would still attend the CC meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Chua and Liow said they would not turn up because they have resigned. - Bernama

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