KUALA LUMPUR, April 8: Chew Mei Fun has quit as the MCA Wanita Chief, in a move that pundits say is a harbinger of greater infighting to come and will only deepen the swathe of unhealed wounds already festering in the party.
She had vowed to do so if Chua Soi Lek – who was caught red-handed committing adultery - got elected as party president. Chew also stepped down as Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister and Senator. Her resignations will be effective on April 29 and in the meantime, she will be going on leave.
“This is a significant setback for the MCA. Even though Chew lost her parliamentary seat, she is well-regarded by some of the young professionals, who still like her,” PKR vice president Lee Boon Chye told Harakahdaily.
“Her withdrawal will compound the impression that MCA is now run by pro-establishment, retirement-age leaders who have no clues about what modern Malaysia wants. It will also reinforce the image that MCA is back to square-one with outdated leaders who will toe the Umno line in exchange for Cabinet positions and perks.”
Chew lost the Petaling Jaya Utara seat to DAP's Tony Pua in the 2008 general election.
More quakes expected amid Cabinet, party reshuffling
Last month, Soi Lek had beaten off a red-hot challenge from former president Ong Ka Ting and predecessor Ong Tee Keat to win the top MCA post, sounding the death knell for Chew's career in the party.
At a meeting held at MCA headquarters on Thursday, a tearful Chew declined to change her mind despite pleading by her supporters who held banners declaring ‘We need You’ and ‘Upholding principles in the defense of women’s dignity’.
“I think that in upholding our principles and the moral values of Wanita, we need someone to clearly convey our stance and belief. But the party needs to move on, so let me convey that message alone,” Chew said in her farewell address.
She also quit as head of Selangor Wanita MCA and the party's crisis relief squad. She will be succeeded by her deputy Yu Chok Tow. In turn, Yu’s No.2 post will be taken over by former vice president Tan Ah Eng.
“A lot people say Chew brought it on herself by being too arrogant. But at least she really quit as she said she would, unlike Tee Keat, who disgusted everyone by reneging on his word,” Boon Chye said.
“There will be more shake-ups in the days to come especially when Prime Minister Najib Razak reshuffles the Cabinet on the advice of Soi Lek. Tee Keat can be counted on to cause trouble behind the scenes. Also within the party, there will be a realignment of power and again this will cause dissatisfaction. It will be a long while before the MCA can stabilize.”
(Edited by Wong Choon Mei)