Two Chua’s and an Ong

MCA could be heading towards another party crisis like what it had seen during the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan era or the reign of Ling Liong Sik-Lim Ah Lek.

By Mohsin Abdullah, MySinchew

Perhaps it’s expected that Datuk Chua Jui Meng has joined the PKR. After all he have been talking of reforms for years, something which he can’t or was not allowed to implement in the MCA. So he claims. Hence it’s only natural that he takes his reform agenda to the PKR, a party where reforms are the very essence of it’s struggle.

When taking such a bold step, Chua, the seasoned politician that he is, must have prepared himself for the onslaught by the MCA. Angry words like ‘frustrated politician out for position’ are the norm to describe politicians crossing over to the other side.

And the battle hardened Chua must have had all his answers ready. Even the timing of him joining the Pakatan Rakyat is seen as perfect as it came when the so-called cracks were appearing in the coalition. That itself dismissed any notion that he’s out for top posts. Why would he opt to join something that is cracking? That seems to be the logic, never mind whether the Pakatan cracks were there in the first place.

Whatever it is, the angry words that came out of the MCA following Chua’s departure were not really that angry. Not mild of course but not vicious either. In fact, UMNO was angrier than the MCA. To say the MCA is not upset with Chua’s leaving is an understatement. He is still a formidable force. Make no mistake about that. And he still musters substantial support in MCA itself. But no angry onslaught.

At least not in public. Perhaps it boils down to putting up a gentleman’s image for the masses. This is to show to the Chinese community in particular that the MCA is not made of people who get bitter easily. Perhaps it was the gentlemanly manner Chua left the party i.e. by announcing it properly to his supporters in Bakri and putting the house in order before leaving. And according to reports, Chua told MCA members to remain loyal to party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat. Could that be the reason? Maybe. And Ong was quoted as saying he would remain a friend of Chua. Different political ideologies but both can remain friends all the same. Well and good.

With that, Chua Jui Meng is now busy fighting the cause with PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat. And Ong is focussing his attention to another Chua. His deputy in the MCA Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek. Things are not good at all. In fact it’s getting ugly.

Ong is now talking of efforts by certain people to topple him. Even to the extent of using the PKFZ issue. It’s obvious he is referring to Chua Soi Lek. The number two MCA man snarled back saying Ong just wants to be a hero in the PKFZ scandal. Chua has got tremendous support in he party. According to MCA watchers, his supporters are saying it was Ong who started it all, wanting to kill Chua off from the day Chua won the deputy presidency.

Reigniting the DVD issue they say was just one of the tactics used to systematically sideline the deputy president. And the situation was so bad that word spread that Chua wanted out, perhaps to cross over to the Pakatan. As to who started that talk is anybody’s guess. But BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak had to give Chua important tasks. That got Chua out of the cold. At least for a little while.

Ong has always been seen as a loner. But when you’re president, many would love to be the president’s men. And women. So the pro Ong Tee Keat folks are also in place, say observers. To them it was Chua who is doing all the scheming, playing the innocent underdog to win sympathy. True or otherwise? Your guess is as good as mine.

But if there’s something observers agree on is that the situation is reaching boiling point in the MCA. Many believe, supporters of Ong and Chua are now sharpening their knives and ready to do battle. MCA could be heading towards another party crisis like what it had seen during the Neo Yee Pan-Tan Koon Swan era or the reign of Ling Liong Sik-Lim Ah Lek. Perhaps even worst. Some observers are saying it could culminate to an enforced EGM to force the president out of office long before party polls. Ong will surely not take all that lying down. The president being the incumbent holds the advantage. That’s the case, usually. History has proven that. The question now is will history be repeated? Or history is to be rewritten?