Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Tee Kiat passes the MCA torch to Chua
In a simple but formal handover ceremony today, former MCA president Ong Tee Kiat pledge to play his role in uniting the party under the new leadership of Dr Chua Soi Lek.
The event at the party headquarters marked an end to Tee Kiat’s leadership after a heated and divisive election campaign, and now Chua's priority is all too clear.
Both looked relaxed, smiled and thanked each other for the cooperation extended during the leadership transition process.
Chua said he offered Tee Keat and Ong Ka Ting a formally appointed role in the presidential council but it was politely declined.
Nevertheless, said Chua, the two gave assurances that they would continue to help play a role in helping him stabilise the party.
“Whatever outstanding financial obligations and decisions on party matters made by Tee Kiat during his tenure will be fulfilled,” said Chua.
“My most important mission right now is to unite and stabilise the party so that we can move forward as a team to face the next general election,” he added.
Tee Keat told the press later that he would continue to carry out his duties as Pandan MP and Cabinet minister.
“The battle (party election) may be over but it does not mean I'll stop striving for my ideals. I will have to re-prioritise my work schedule and concerns,” he said.
“The implementation of my ministerial initiatives, the National Key Results Area (NKRA), is part of my responsibilities,” added Tee Kiat.
He also said that he would pay more attention to health after having been wheel-chair-bound after the Chinese New Year due to an injured leg.
Tee Kiat's brief one-and-a-half year stint as the eighth MCA president was marked by failures and a loser’s record of diminishing leadership skills.
Two kinds of politicians
It is said that there are two types of politicians: one copes with the waves while other survives by just watching the tide.
Tee Kiat did not survive the rising tide of unpopularity and it turned against him while his successor Chua rode out the waves despite a stormy personal past.
Chua polled 901 votes, Ka Ting 833, while Tee Keat finished third with 578 votes in the March 28 contest for party presidency.
The descent of Tee Keat had its beginnings in the Oct 18, 2008 polls. Critics would recall the Tee Kiat-Chua’s relationship as the most galling in the party’s history.
“Politicians should not give excuses and justifications for their wrongs; white is white and black is black,” Tee Kiat said in his pre-election campaign.
It was obvious to party watchers that the message was meant for Chua’s ears.
Tee Kiat fired another salvo at Chua in another hard-hitting speech: “A public office holder once tainted should be brought to book, or the person should bow out.”
Despite winning the 2008 election, Tee Kiat’s popularity dipped further as his relationship with Chua, his deputy, turned sour and quarrelsome.
Overconfident and arrogant, Tee Kiat rammed through his political appointments.
When asked about this brash move, he shot back: “All appointments are based on the party constitutional powers vested in me.
“I don’t need to tell the whole world my prime considerations. My rationale is not meant to be shared with the whole world.”
As time went on, the leadership and power gamesmanship came to life. Chua scored goal after goal and it led to the EGM’s no-confidence motion against Tee Kiat.
Tee Kiat reneged on his earlier promise when he said: “Once a simple majority is obtained, I will be left with no choice but to step down.”
In the final days of his campaign, Tee Kiat went to the ground with his heroic “PKFZ” issue in a desperate attempt to shore up support.
Then former president Ka Ting entered the election fray and played the spoiler to devastating effect.
The curtains have come down on Tee Kiat, and the MCA machinery is slowly showing signs of positive motion once again.
All eyes will be on the new appointments by Chua which is expected to announced tomorrow after he chairs his first central committee as the ninth MCA president.