Deja vu for MCA

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

One moment Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun was laughing and cracking jokes and the next she was in shock after hearing that she had been removed as an appointee to the presidential council by MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

The announcement seemed to come out of the blue as the initial mood during the central committee meeting yesterday had been fairly light and marked by cheerful table banging by the members prompted by the indication given by Ong and rivals Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai that they would try to resolve their issues.

The first sign that Ong was planning something was when he was seen suddenly furiously scribbling on his notepad. Then came the bombshell —- eight appointed presidential council members, all of whom are backing fresh party polls and seen as part of the Liow faction — that some of the members would be dropped and replaced by friendly parties.

The dropped eight comprised nearly half the council and included among them five deputy ministers — Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, Deputy Women’s Minister Chew and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Wee Jeck Seng. This is a significant move as the presidential council is seen as a platform for the MCA leaders to prepare for Cabinet meetings.

That Ong has the right to do this, there is no doubt — he has wide discretionary powers under the party constitution to make appointments to the council as he sees fit.

Liow, however, likened it to a declaration of war and accused the president of being “corrupted” by “absolute power”.