(The Sun Daily) - MCA was in fact merely "returning" the seat to Umno.
Political horse-trading on seats to contest has resulted in some dissatisfaction which now appears to threaten Barisan Nasional (BN) component cooperation, but MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday allayed such fears, citing his confidence that the BN spirit of consensus will prevail.
One such seat of contention is Wangsa Maju, which was contested by MCA in 2008.
In the face of speculation that BN will be represented by Umno this time around, the Wangsa Maju MCA division has said it will pull out of all campaigning efforts if its chief, Datuk Yew Teong Look, is not fielded.
It has been speculated that Umno Wangsa Maju has been eyeing the seat since 2008, and plans to field its division chief Datuk Shafie Abdullah, the political secretary to prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who is Umno president.
Speaking to newsmen after chairing the MCA central committee meeting yesterday, Chua confirmed that the Kuantan parliamentary seat as well as the Tanah Rata (Pahang) and Kota Laksamana (Malacca) state seats will be "loaned" to Umno, Gerakan and PPP respectively.
"We exchanged Tanah Rata for Ketari, and Sabah BN has also given us the Luyang state seat.
"However, we are not giving up the Padang Serai and Tebrau parliamentary seats," said Chua, adding that no consensus has been reached on other hot seats traditionally held by MCA.
They include Wangsa Maju, Pandan, Gelang Patah, Jelapang and Tronoh, which other component parties have voiced interest in contesting.
Reiterating that MCA did not give up any seats without a fight and that "loaning" and seat swapping was done "in the spirit of the BN coalition", Chua said it was also based on the understanding there will definitely be more parliamentary and state seats drawn up in the delineation exercise after the general elections.
"The seats that are loaned out by MCA will come back to us after the delineation," said Chua.
BN secretary-general Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, however, denied that Umno was "taking away" the Wangsa Maju seat from MCA.
Tengku Adnan, who is also Umno secretary-general, said MCA was in fact merely "returning" the seat to Umno.
He claimed that in 2004, when he was Federal Territory state liaison chief, it was suggested that an Indian candidate from BN contest the newly-formed constituency of Wangsa Maju, on the grounds that there were over 100,000 Indian voters in Kuala Lumpur.
"I suggested an Indian should be a candidate but I don't know what happened along the way, but the seat was given to MCA, on loan.
"Now MCA is returning it to (Umno) because they are rational and understand the situation.
"We (Umno) are not taking away any seats. BN has never done that because we discuss matters until we reach a consensus," said Tengku Adnan after officiating the 2013 KAR1SMA aid presentation programme in Putrajaya yesterday.
Pressed further to confirm if Wangsa Maju will be contested by Umno, Tengku Adnan replied: "As of now, perhaps."
Meanwhile, Chua declined to elaborate on the fate of incumbent Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, saying negotiations with Najib are still underway.
The Chinese press had reported that Ong had received blessings from Najib to defend Pandan, which raised concerns among party leaders.
He also confirmed he will not be contesting any seat to make way for fresh faces to represent the party.
"I want to prove a point that I am fighting for a cause, that MCA is still relevant. So I will continue to lead the party without standing for elected public office," he added.