By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — There were no surprises after nomination closed for MCA’s keenly contested fresh polls with confirmation that the contest for the party’s presidency will be a three-way battle between incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek, and former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.
As expected the fight for the party’s deputy presidency will be between Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.The atmosphere at the party’s headquarters here today was exciting as supporters of the candidates tried to out shout each other.
Tee Keat’s supporters had arrived in numbers and began to barricade the entrance to Wisma MCA. The supporters wearing orange began shouting Tee Keat’s name and had banners which urged the party delegates not to blame Tee Keat for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
They also held banners saying that only with Tee Keat can there be reforms in the party.
Liow and Ka Ting’s supporters had arrived later and formed a row opposite the orange line but were smaller in numbers. A shouting match then ensued between the two camps.
Dr Chua, who had arrived at 2.30pm, told reporters that he was confident and asked the central delegates to give him an opportunity to lead the party.
“Well my chances, I leave it to the wisdom of the central delegates. I am by nature an optimist. I feel that the central delegates should give me a chance. The other two has already served; one has served five years plus and the other has served one and a half years. I have not given a chance to serve and I only have the chance to serve for one year because next year is party election,” he said.
However Tee Keat was cautious and hoped that delegates could differentiate between the truth and political propaganda.
“I have always been cautiously optimistic as I said earlier non-confrontational and more importantly is to share with my delegates what I mean by transformation and at the same time they have the right to know exactly what we have been doing this far,” he told reporters in the registration hall.
Tee Keat refused to comment on his “running mate.”
“The word running has been abused. Has been lavishly abused by certain quarters because our system here we don’t have the running mate system. But it is our people here who thought that this is similar to American system.
He also refused to comment on the possible Ka Ting and Liow faction.Ka Ting, who received a hero’s welcome, reiterated that he was not in any faction and insisted that he is a
“If I win, I will accept all those who win as a
team for MCA. I have repeatedly repeated my stand and principle that I accept anyone who supports me at this point in time because they agreed with what I plan to do with the party. I hope the support will grow stronger with people supporting my mission. I don’t this see this as a faction but I see it as a team fighting for party.
“Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai already gave his support to me and I accept it. I consider him as a comrade for the party if we both are elected. And if there are other leaders who express their support to me, I will accept,” he said.
Ka Ting also admitted that it won’t be easy for him to reclaim the party’s presidency.
“There should be a good fighting chance but I don’t take it lightly. It is quite a challenging contest,” he said.