By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, who created headlines last week when he announced his intention to vie for the party presidency, has promised not to use Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s sex scandal as a part of his campaign for the polls this March 28.
Ka Ting, who is also up against incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in the presidential race, expressed disgust at the idea and gave his assurance that he would not launch personal attacks against either of his contenders. “I will not go on personal attacks, I will campaign according to my election manifesto,” he said.
He however added that he would duly rebut any bid by his contenders to launch personal attacks against him. “Of course, if people start anything against me, I would have to react to clear the air,” he said.
Ka Ting, who has been accused by certain quarters of being the mastermind behind Dr Chua’s sex scandal, promised he would not use the scandal as means to gain support for himself.
Between all three candidates for the post of president, support for Ka Ting and Dr Chua is believed to be a close tie. “No, no, I will definitely not (use the sex CD). And if anyone were to use it, I would disagree also,” he said, adding that he would also like to urge both Tee Keat and Dr Chua to employ clean campaign tactics over the week.
Ka Ting, who submitted his nomination papers at about 4.10pm today, also claimed that his re-entry into the party was not to create a new faction but to reunite the factions. “I have worked with all these leaders before, we have worked as a
team,” he said.
He expressed confidence that the party’s central delegates would be able to make wise judgements when casting their votes this March 28, and would be able to see the true purpose behind his comeback.
“It will be a very challenging contest but I am confident that the delegates will understand the main principle behind my contest, which is to offer a way to stabilise the party. The party has gone through difficult times over the past one year. I trust that the delegates can see this and they will have the wisdom to see the bigger picture and accept me again as their leader,” he said.
Ka Ting also expressed gratitude that former vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had, as expected, decided to throw his support behind him for the party elections.
“I am happy with anyone who is willing to support me, I will accept it with an open heart. I will accept anyone who is willing to come and work together with me as a
team,” he said but stressed that this did not mean a new faction was emerging. “Like I said, I am here not as a faction but as a uniting factor,” he said.
Ka Ting also acknowledged that whomever who wins posts in the March 28 polls would only stand in their terms for one year as the party would go for elections again next year.
“Yes, it will only be for a year but it does not matter. We must do what we can to solve the party crisis,” he said.
He refused to say if he planned to seek re-election next year, adding that now was not the time to pre-empt the decision of the polls.
Meanwhile, in a separate function at Berjaya Times Square earlier, Ka Ting launched his three-tiered election manifesto during a luncheon.
The manifesto is based on three principles — dignity, unity and integrity — and seeks to restore rule of law to the party, re-group the current factions as well as to ensure that MCA members practice the highest level of integrity both in deed and action.
Ka Ting also intends to amend the party constitution to curb potential abuses of presidential powers and to strengthen checks and balances within the party’s administration.
His manifesto also contains the leader’s promise to restore and enhance good governance, transparency and accountability in the management of the party’s assets by institutionalising it through the inception of a Central Board of Trustees and Audit Committee.
Taking note of the loss of confidence in the party by the Chinese community, Ka Ting has also pledged to rebuild relationships with the community, especially by engaging with Chinese associations, guilds and non-governmental organisations.
He also hopes to use the prime minister’s New Economic Model to advocate and bring into fruition further liberalisation and competitiveness of the economy.