KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Gelang Patah MP Tan Ah Eng lashed out MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek for claiming he had included her name in his recommendations to the prime minister for the recent Cabinet reshuffle.
The Wanita MCA deputy chairman hinted today that her party president may not have been telling the truth when he made his claim to the press recently.
This, she claimed, was because she spoke privately with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself last night on the matter.
“I asked the prime minister why he did not choose me to become a deputy minister and why he had chosen Labis MP Chua Tee Yong over me.
“He told me that he had just followed the list given to him by Soi Lek. What else could this mean but that my name was not on the list?” she told The Malaysian Insider at the Parliament lobby today.
Tan, a second-term MP, said she felt slighted when she was not given the appointment.
In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Tee Yong, Soi Lek’s son and a first-term MP, was appointed a deputy minister for Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries.
In denying that the appointment of his son was because of nepotism, Soi Lek had explained to the media that both Tee Yong and Tan’s names were submitted to the prime minister.
He had claimed that this was because the duo, out of the party’s 13 MPs, were the only ones who did not have and or have not held government posts before.
Tan said today that she was disappointed that she was not chosen but had not wanted to speak out against her party president at first.
“I did not want to say anything at first but now I do not have a choice. This is because the prime minister himself had explained that he had selected Tee Yong out of merit. Does this mean that I do not qualify?
“I feel this is very unfair,” she said.
She said she decided to speak out because she had to explain the situation to her constituents.
Tan added that she felt she was qualified for the post of deputy minister as she was a more senior politician than Tee Yong.
“I can do the job, it’s not like I cannot. I am also a second-term MP and I was elected to be the deputy chairman of Wanita MCA,” she said, adding that she was an insurance marketing manager by profession.
Tan noted however that she had not spoken with her party president about the matter.
“I am speaking out today because I just wanted to clarify to the media and to my voters about what happened. Dr Chua said he put my name in the list but the prime minister said that he chose Tee Yong because he was just following the list.
“This must mean that my name was probably not on the list in the first place,” she reiterated.
The father-and-son team of Soi Lek and Tee Yong has been in the limelight recently when the newly-elected MCA president placed his son in the party’s powerful presidential council and later appointed him to the team to monitor the party’s assets, estimated to be worth over RM2 billion.
Tee Yong was later appointed a deputy minister in Najib’s administration, leading to speculation that his father had entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with the premier to appoint him into government.