Tee Keat may return with northern allies
SHAH ALAM: Former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat may make a bid for the party’s top post with the help of his northern allies.
He may launch his attack from the northern region where there appears to be growing support for his cause.
Speculations are rife that he may reignite his campaign to contest for the presidency when his name surfaced in a division delegates’ list in Kubang Pasu, Kedah.
Ong, a former Pandan MP, may receive strong endorsement in his new political home of Kubang Pasu whose division chief Datuk Lim Lye Huat is his close friend.
Their alliance was forged in 2008 when Ong appointed Lim as Kedah MCA chief when the former became MCA president.
However, following Ong’s defeat to Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in a fierce party power struggle in 2010, Lim also resigned. The Kedah MCA chief’s post went to Datuk Chong Itt Chew.
Ong now hopes to gather enough support in Kedah to launch his candidacy in a bid to topple Chua.
But it will not be easy to dislodge Chua from his seat. To qualify to be a candidate for the party presidency, Ong must first be made a central delegate. This means he must become a divisional leader.
The MCA division election will then commence from Sept 20 to 22 to elect the central delegates to attend the party’s annual general meeting in December.
Ong is believed to have chosen to start his campaign from the northern region because it would be easier to sway the divisional leaders there to support his cause.
Chua’s stronghold is in Johor and certain areas in the central region.
Several Kedah leaders have already expressed their lack of confidence in Chua, with eight divisional chiefs reportedly calling on Chua to resign from his post as party president and Penang Port chairman on Aug 3.
But Chong promptly dismissed the report, saying that 14 divisions supported Chua, with the exception of Kubang Pasu.
At one time the talk was that Ong would drop his bid for the presidency when he was appointed as group adviser to construction firm, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd.
But political analyst Prof Dr James Chin said that a three-way fight among Chua, Ong and deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is almost certain to happen.
“Supporters of these candidates are already counting the numbers… a possible fourth candidate may also enter to split the vote,” he said in an e-mail reply to theantdaily.
Ong in his posting in his Facebook complained that after he was defeated and lost his chance to defend the Pandan constituency in the 13th general election, he was deemed “sudah tak boleh pakai lagi” (cannot be used anymore).
“Even then, there are people who remain interested in the political directions I’ll be taking as a conversational topic. This makes me uncomfortable,” he said in his statement.