Saturday, March 20, 2010

Three-cornered fight shaping up for top MCA post

The MCA may see a three-cornered fight for the No 1 post, with former party deputy president Dr Chua Soi Lek expected to announce his candidacy tomorrow.

So far, incumbent Ong Tee Keat had made known his intention to retain his post, with former party president Ong Ka Ting announcing his return last week.

With Chua entering the fray, the 2,300-odd MCA delegates will have a wider choice of leaders to pick to lead them into the next general election, which is hardly two years away.

Party insiders, though excited about the fresh election, expressed disappointment in the choices available.

“It’s a pity MCA is running out of leaders, given the challenges the party and Barisan Nasional (BN) will have to face in the coming general election.

“The three aspirants for the president's post are not even in touch with the Chinese community at large, what more with young Chinese voters who would be the deciding factor in the next general election,” said a party insider, who wished to remain anonymous.

He said Tee Keat’s leadership was rejected in a vote-of-no-confidence at the party extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last year, but he ignored it.

He added that the same delegates would be voting next Sunday and going by the previous EGM, it was obvious they would not want to retain Tee Keat.

“Similarly, the delegates voted Chua back into the party after he was expelled but only as an ordinary member and not deputy president.”

“Now, if Chua goes for the top post, I feel he is going to be dumped by the delegates. The new factor here is Ka Ting. But, although he has done a good job when he was president, he does not know that the political scenario in the Chinese community has changed,” the insider said.

“If Ka Ting knew the feelings and desires of the Chinese community when he was the leader, MCA would not have been battered in the March 2008 general election.

“The fact that Tee Keat took on a racial tone in demanding liberalisation of government scholarships, intake into universities and so on, goes to show that he is slowly becoming aware of the sentiments of the Chinese community.

“But will this do good for the BN in propagating moderation and compromise?” he asked.

Out of capable leaders

As for Chua, he said the distrust towards Tee Keat was too great for the former to play second fiddle to the latter.

“It is common knowledge how Tee Keat put Chua in cold storage immediately after last year’s party election despite the latter winning the deputy presidency.

“Going by that, it was not a coincidence when Chua and seven other central committee members pulled the rug from under Tee Keat’s feet when they resigned to pave the way for a fresh election,” he said.

Another party insider said it was sad that the party had run out of capable leaders and going by the campaign trail of the three at present, they had not provided anything new.

“The Chinese, except the top businessmen, are no longer looking at MCA as a platform to champion their cause.

“With Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s so-called open policy, where educated Chinese youngsters can have direct access to him through Facebook... I do not feel they need MCA anymore,” he said.

Thus, the contest for the presidency excites only party members and not majority of the Chinese community.

by FMT

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