No choice for Liow but to stand up
COMMENT: The gloves are off – mild-mannered MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has openly launched an attack on his boss Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek as the all-important party elections in December draw nearer. For Liow the stakes are high because he has thrown his hat into the ring for the presidential post.
For a long while, Liow (pix, top left) withheld his fire and went about his party work without making too much noise, dutifully toeing the party line. Perhaps he did not want to antagonise Chua (right) since the latter has announced he would not defend his post. With Chua out of the way, Liow is assured of a smooth path to the top position.
But tension was simmering all this while and it was only a matter of time before the two leaders clashed head-on. Sure enough, the hostility erupted when Chua accused Liow of putting pressure on the former to resign as MCA president.
Liow wasted no time in calling for a press conference at the MCA headquarters recently where he blasted Chua, reportedly calling him a “spin doctor”, a “dictator” and a “bully” and brusquely dismissed the doctor’s allegation. His normally smiling face contorted into anger as he tore into Chua.
It is not too difficult to find the reason for Liow to openly declare war on his boss. For one, Liow had the impression that he had the tacit support of Chua to contest for the MCA presidency. Besides, he also believed that the majority of the MCA members want Chua out because of the party’s humiliating performance at the 13th general election.
All the indications are strong that Chua might change his mind. He is not about to take a ride to sunset. But the suspicion has been growing lately that Chua would reverse course especially when he himself had said he would not bow down to pressure to resign. He wanted to put the “party in order” first, pointedly stating that a majority of members also “wanted me to stay”. He might have to linger awhile longer to clean up the mess.
So when Chua accused Liow of applying pressure on him to quit, the doctor was actually defending his earlier stand of not bowing down to pressure. But Liow read it differently: he feels that Chua is trying to hold on to his seat which will spell utter ruin for Liow’s political career. Realising the “political game” Chua is playing, Liow had no choice but to stand up to his boss.