Friday, March 12, 2010

'Ong Tee Keat commands high respect'

A divisional chief of Sabah MCA says he would continue to support Ong Tee Keat as president of the party because he commands high respect and regard, not only of the Chinese community but also other communities in the country.

"They have high respect for him, that's why I will continue to support him as I have done so since he successfully campaigned for the national Youth chairman post in August 1999," says Paul Kong Sing Chu, chairman of Penampang MCA division.

Kong, who is a Member of the Senate, adds that since MCA is a political party, it must be able to secure support from the rakyat, if not all its candidates would lose in the next general election.

"If we lose, what's the party for? We would not be in the government then and there would be no representatives in Parliament or state legislative assembly," said Kong when asked to comment on the current party crisis.

He is one of the 19 members of the MCA Central Committee (CC) who have not resigned from their positions.

The only other CC member from Sabah, Edward Khoo Keok Hai, is known to have resigned with the group led by former vice-president Liow Tiong Lai.

Khoo, an assistant minister in the Chief Minister's Department, has been MCA's state liaison committee chairman since 1999.

No reason to resign

Kong said those elected were given a three-year mandate on Oct. 18, 2008. "We are only 18 months into the term and we have another 21 months to go."

He said that's why he does not see the purpose of resigning from the post.

When asked if he would stand for election in the coming EGM on March 28 during which new party officials would be elected, he said he would seek re-election as a member of the CC.

As for his view on the struggle for top party post, Kong said firmly, "I will urge Ong to defend the president's post and call on all who did not resign to seek re-election."

He said his stand is very clear, that he would continue to support Ong as he has done since 1999. He elaborated on the reason for this support.

"Presently, since he took over the presidency in October 2008, Ong Tee Keat has embarked on rejuvenating and reforming the party.

"By doing so, some (within the party) are not happy. Now it is half way and he needs to complete the agenda for the party.

ong-tee-keat-paul-kong-chau-tet-on"With the impending 13th general elections expected to be called early, we need a leader like Ong who commands high respect and regard not only of the Chinese community but also other communities.

"For this reason, I will continue to support him."

Leaders with respect

Kong called on central delegates to exercise their wisdom to choose leaders who can command respect from all sectors of society.

He said the delegates should especially support leaders who did not resign and who had remained faithful to the positions they were previously elected to.

To confirm that he is happy and willing to openly declare his stand, he said he had made his views known also through the Chinese media, particularly in the Nanyang Siang Pau and the Asia Times in the past week.

Another Sabah leader who feels strongly about the need to reform the MCA and to regain public support for the party is Chau Tet On, chairman of Kota Kinabalu Division.

"I am all for it," Chau told the Malaysian Mirror in an interview today.

He said after the March 2008 general elections, the party needed to change to regain the support of the general public, particularly the Chinese community.

"This has to be done so that we can win in the next election.

"Whether we succeed or not is a different matter, for it depends on various factors. But there must be reform and a change of image (for the party)," he stressed.

Adding, "You can't stay idle and follow the old way. Behind my idea of reform is also the need for attitudinal change."

Chau says that this change of attitude should also be at the grassroots level. He said the way the rank and file members look at the party should also change.

Another area of change, he points out, is the attitude of leaders at the national level towards divisions in the various states. According to him, that too should change.

"I support reform. This is to gain Sabah's respect and support, the whole issue of having a political party."

Chau was among former leaders of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) who joined the MCA in 1994.

He was appointed the secretary of MCA's State Liaison Committee and helped increase the number of MCA divisions from seven to 18.

In 1998 he was the first local leader to take over as chairman of the party's State Liaison Committee.

When asked which side it is on, Chau replied, "This is not my style." On such matters, he usually does not make his stand known publicly.

He is also keeping his options open in as far as whether he would stand for any post in the coming party elections.

"Wait and see, the developments," was all that he said.

All have weaknesses

He, however, believes that this coming EGM would be one of the solutions for the present crisis, "on condition that the result of the fresh elections will be respected by all factions and the rank and file of the party."

Chau says that all along these key leaders (meaning Ong Tee Keat, Dr Chua Soi Lek and Liow Tiong Lai) have made mistakes in one way or another.

"They have their weak and strong points and Ong has openly apologized for his mistake, for hastily taking the reform or moved too fast.

"This supports my point that they all made mistakes.

"The reform after the 3/08 defeat was to change the image of the party. That reform plan met with resistance," Chau observed.

Even Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wants MCA to solve its problem as soon as possible, "to strengthen the Barisan Nasional".

"I want a solution. It doesn't really matter whether through elections or an understanding, as long as the MCA emerges a credible force to represent principally the Chinese community and Malaysians as a whole," he is reported to have said earlier this week in the nation's capital.

There are now 25 MCA divisions in Sabah with 331 branches.

Sabah has a total of 147 central delegates with voting powers at the coming EGM, out of the nation-wide total of 2,378 delegates.

courtesy of Malaysian Mirror

No comments: