The fall of Ong – can he come back again

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah Daily

MCA president Ong Tee Keat must be one lonely guy right now. His world came crashing down last week when factions led by his deputy Chua Soi Lek and his former ally Liow Tiong Lay resigned en-masse to force fresh party polls.

Adding salt to the wound is a telling last-minute decision by Prime Minister Najib Razak not to attend the MCA annual assembly, where Ong had hope to stir up support to defend his post come election date on March 28.

The signs are unmistakable. Ong is completely out of favor now. Even Youth chief Wee Ka Siong and Women’s head Chew Mei Fun want nothing to do with him.

What did Ong do that was so terrible? Well, in his bid to get rid of Chua, he launched one of the dirtiest gutter fights in MCA history, a year-long battle that nearly shattered the party, on the grounds that Chua’s lack of morality was a danger to the community.

Yet when delegates passed a no-confidence vote against him, he reneged on a promise to quit the presidency – making MCA the butt of jokes all over the country.

Weeks later when he suddenly made up with Chua, and together they struck a ‘Greater Unity Plan’ to stave off Liow, the Chinese community could only gasp at his audacity.

The greatest sin

Now that he has fallen off his perch and has had the grace to apologize for his bad behavior, some of the kinder hearts in the MCA are beginning to think of giving him a second chance. But they should not waste their time.

The Chinese community does not really like Chua. They instinctively distrust his body language. Neither do they like Liow because of his perceived duplicity and the speed at which he dumped his mentor Ong when the going got tough.

But sadly for Ong, he still takes the cake. His was the greatest sin because he cared the least for the MCA. Otherwise he would not have thrashed the party the way he did. In the end, it was clear he cared only for his own power and position.

So when Najib, the BN president, showed his hand, few Chinese felt sympathy for Ong even though they may have hated the fact that Umno was once again pulling the strings in MCA.

To them, Ong committed the ultimate sin – worse than getting filmed having sex like Chua, or behaving like a turncoat like Liow or acting like a cry-baby like Wee.

He betrayed the trust the Chinese placed in him when they gave him the MCA chair. Maybe, it never struck Ong that way. He just didn’t give a thought to the party or the community.

His legacy

So what will happen to Ong come March 28. He has the same chance as a snowball in hell to retain the presidency. In fact, if he is smart, he won’t try to defend his post. Let it be someone else, no matter how unsuitable or under-talented. The signal is clear, MCA members prefer anyone other than Ong.

So on balloting day, Chua and Liow may prevail. Or former stalwarts like Ong Ka Chua and other proxies for power brokers such as Ling Liong Sik and Ong Ka Ting may emerge. It is still an open race but for sure, the winner won’t be Ong.

And this is the sad irony. Despite his shortened tenure, the MCA chief and Transport Minister may have done more than any of his predecessors to expose corruption.

As the MCA is his disgrace, the RM12 billion Port Klang Free Zone debacle is his legacy – even if he may not have intended to expose as much of the corruption as he ended up doing!

Will he join Pakatan, will Pakatan accept him

So what will happen to Ong? Will he follow in the fashion of all good former MCA presidents and fade quietly away? Given his youth, his extreme and combative nature, would he?

Talk has also begun to swirl that he may join the Pakatan Rakyat. But with his pro-establishment nature and the insults that he has hurled at the opposition, could he really make such a giant step?

And more pertinently – would the Pakatan really want to accept this walking-talking, ticking time-bomb of a man – a real life Jekyll and Hyde?

At this point in time, no one knows or really cares to predict.

But the best thing that Ong can do for himself and those close to him, especially in the aftermath of the upcoming MCA polls, is some serious soul-searching.

If he wants to remain a relevant contributor to Malaysian society, he will need to tear down his own mental ceilings and clean up his act. There are some parts of him that are admirable, but at the moment, there is more that is not.