Sunday, March 07, 2010

Three blocs in fresh MCA polls?

With MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat strongly hinting that he will defend his position in the upcoming fresh party polls on March 28, there appears to be three blocs in the contest.

Although it appears to be too murky or early to predict now, party insiders and political analysts believe that there could be three cliques in the fray.

The keenness to contest is strong despite the fact that those elected at the end of this month will only serve for a year before facing a fresh round of elections next year.

"From what I see, three alignments have begun to surface. Dr Chua (Soi Lek) and Kong (Cho Ha), Liow (Tiong Lai) and Ong Ka Chuan, and lastly Ong Tee Keat. Whether it remains that way until March 28, nobody knows for sure," a party insider told Bernama.

The insider said speculation had been intense that Dr Chua would contest the presidency and Kong would be his running mate for deputy president.

Not more than three alignments

Former secretary-general Ka Chuan is teaming up with Liow -- going either for the positions of president or deputy president. Tee Keat has yet to name his running mate.

"It is interesting if these three alignments expand or narrow down. If it remains a three-cornered contest for the presidency, it will benefit those with the most number of support from delegates," added the insider.

mca-ong-chua-liowOther party sources feel that there may not be more than three alignments as it is not easy to form any formidable partnership as most of their supporters do not really trust each other.

For example, supporters of Tee Keat and Dr Chua harbour the feeling that they had "played each other out" during the Oct 10 Extraordinary General Meeting last year when both of them were defeated in two resolutions.

The vote of no-confidence against Tee Keat was passed by a winning margin of 14 votes although it fell short of the two-thirds majority while the motion to reinstate Dr Chua as deputy president was rejected by about 100 votes.

Tee Keat's camp suspects that Liow's supporters played Tee Keat out while Dr Chua's camp suspects that Ka Chuan's supporters did not pull enough weight then, said a source.

As such, it would be awkward for Dr Chua to form an alliance with Liow nor Liow with Tee Keat, he explained.

The same source also said that some of Dr Chua's supporters were also not comfortable working with the Liow faction as most of Liow's supporters previously belonged to former MCA president Ong Ka Ting and his elder brother, Ka Chuan.

Some of Dr Chua's supporters also believe that their leader had been "fixed" in the DVD sex scandal by detractors from the other camps.

The same goes for some of Tee Keat's supporters who are not taking kindly to the latest twist in the party when 22 elected Central Committee members recently tendered their resignations to pave the way for fresh polls.

Three-way may benefit Chua

MCA Padang Besar division chairman Loh Yoon Foo said some party delegates may have reservations on Dr Chua, who was implicated in a DVD sex scandal, as party president because of concerns that this blot could weaken the party in terms of bargaining power.

"It could end up as a three-cornered fight. However, I do hope one of them would not contest, making it a straight fight for the party president's post," he said.

Political analysts say that it is clear that Tee Keat has about 600 solid delegates out of about 2,400 delegates in total based on today's turnout at the Annual General Assembly while Liow's faction is said to have a support base of about equal strength based on the Nov 28 briefing called by him to push for fresh polls.

"Only Soi Lek has about one-third or roughly about 900 delegates for support based on his previous signature campaign pushing for an EGM on Oct 10 last year following his sacking from the party by the presidential council," an analyst said.

He feels that if there is a three-cornered fight, it could benefit Dr Chua.

"That is why there are talks that some political brokers are now working behind the scenes to persuade either Tee Keat or Liow to make way for each other to ensure a straight fight," he said. - Bernama

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