Sunday, March 21, 2010

Neck-To-Neck Battle In MCA Presidential Race

Who has better chances of winning the three-cornered fight in the MCA presidential contest on March 28? Will it be incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, former president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting or former deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek?

It is going to be tough and close, say most political analysts.


Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat

The winner may probably receive only 40 per cent of the delegates votes while the remaining two other could possibly get 30 per cent each.

In other words, it may come to a situation where the winner of the presidential ballot may only command 40 per cent of the party's support while 60 per cent may deem that the winner is not the right man to lead.

Unless the winner obtains 50 per cent or more votes, irregardless of how many contestants are there in the ring, the party may continue to blighted by the on-going bickering as to who is acknowledged as the rightful leader.

A division leader from Selangor also said that it was difficult to say who has a clear advantage at this stage in a three-cornered contest but did admit that it may be difficult for Tee Keat to retain his presidency.

"It's difficult to say who among the three has a better chance. Until the last moment, you cannot be sure who can win. But from the way I see it, the focus would be more on between Dr Chua and Ka Ting.

"It's hard to read in terms of grassroot support as the delegates are very smart for they have attended all the luncheons or dinners organised by the
aspirants. It's really a neck-to-neck race," he said, without wanting to be identified.

At this juncture, he rated the support level at 40 percent each for Dr Chua and Ka Ting and only 20 percent for Tee Keat.

He felt that other party leaders and personalities such as former vice-president Datuk Donald Lim, MCA Youth Chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong and small faction leaders such as Datuk Yeow Chai Tiam will play a crucial role in determining the winner.

"Ka Siong, Donald and Chai Tiam have about 300 votes each. The others are more independent, particulary those from Johor, who were previously hardcore supporters of Datuk Chua Jui Meng, who has since left MCA for PKR," he said.

Whatever it is, one grassroots leader from Johor said that some delegates still harboured grievances against all the three contestants.

For example, when Ka Ting was MCA president, he removed some leaders in Johor and replaced them with his own supporters. The same goes to Dr Chua when he was the state chairman as he sidelined some people not aligned to him.

They were also against Tee Keat being the state chairman at one time as they wanted a local to lead the party in the state.


Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek

MCA Ipoh Timur division chairman Thong Fah Chong also said that some party members in Perak, the home state of Ka Ting, still blamed him for the defeat of many MCA candidates in the last general election.

"In Perak, he is still considered primarily responsible for the loss of many MCA seats. Simpang Pulai and Malim Mawar were two safest seats for us in the state but we lost them after he decided to change the candidates," he said.

However, supporters of Ka Ting argued that it was not solely Ka Ting's responsibility for the poor showing in the last general election as the swing towards the Opposition also affected other Barisan Nasional parties as well.

For Padang Besar division chairman Loh Yuen Foo, there is not much choice left for MCA and views Ka Ting as "Hobson's Choice" (or no other choice at all) for the party.

"There is no other choice if they want the party to go back to normal with no scandals and quarrels. We view Ka Ting as a temporary or transitional leader for we need him to come in to stabilise the party and put things in order before quickly passing the baton to his successor," he said.

That is why some political analysts believe that former vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who announced his decision to contest the deputy president's position this time around, as "someone being prepared to take over" in next year's party election.


Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting

But before that can happen, Liow needs to overcome a hurdle as he faces another former vice-president, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who received the highest votes among the four vice-presidents in the last party election.

"It would not be easy for Liow unless it is another three-cornered contest for the deputy presidency. If it is a straight contest between Kong and Liow, Liow may be in a difficult position as there is strong possibility of supporters of Dr Chua and Tee Keat throwing their support behind Kong," said Loh.

But again as pundits say, nothing can be sure at this point. Like what party veteran Datuk Yap Pian Hon says, that there is still a possibility for the aspirants not to contest.

"Even if they have announced their intentions or candidature, it doesn't mean that the situation would remain the same when nomination closes at 5pm tomorrow. Even after the close of nomination, the candidates still have 72 hours to withdraw. The only thing is that they can't submit a new nomination," said Yap.

courtesy of Malaysian Digest

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