Trouble brewing in Johor MCA
SHAH ALAM: Trouble is brewing in Johor MCA as the party gears up for elections in December. Leaders of a division – Pengerang MCA – unanimously decided to disband themselves at a meeting on Sept 2.
They were led by its chairman Tan Yong Seng who said the decision was made because the central leadership did not act on allegations that three branches comprising phantom members were set up in the area.
The management of the division will be handed back to the party headquarters, he was reported as saying.
The three branches – Sungai Bentu, Kampung Baru Sunai Rengit and Teluk Ramunia – which were approved three years ago, were allegedly set up by a certain faction to increase the number of its delegates to the party polls.
In previous reports in the Chinese press, division organising secretary Lau Hong Siong said the information it had gathered showed that more than 50% of the three branches' members are not local residents, which is against the party constitution.
The party constitution stipulates that at least 50% of the members of a branch must be locals.
Lau also said the latest members' list showed that a number of home addresses were used to register many of the "doubtful members", with one address registering as many as 42 members.
Their particulars showed that these "members" are neither from one big family nor Pengerang residents, he said.
"They are from other states. More than 70% of them are believed to be phantoms," he reportedly said.
He added that in 2007, then national organising secretary Datuk Hon Choon Kim had rejected applications to set up the three branches.
However, on Aug 26, 2010, then national organising secretary Datuk Tee Siew Kiong approved the three branches without prior consultation with the division.
"The division was only notified of the three new branches on Sept 28, and missed the one-month appeal deadline," Lau was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, party election steering committee chairman Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (pix, above) told Sin Chew Daily that the matter is being taken care of by the Johor election monitoring committee.
He also said the problem of phantom branches had been around since 2010, and the division did not bring up the matter.
“The existence of phantom branches has no direct relationship with the ongoing MCA party elections,” he said.
Phantom voters have been a persistent problem in MCA, as members were created out of thin air to support certain leaders in their bid to get into the top ranks of the central leadership.
A special task force led by deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to study methods on implementing party reforms, had suggested that all members should be re-registered to get rid of dubious names from the membership roll.