Tsu Koon backs Soi Lek in junior partner row

(The Malaysian Insider) – Gerakan has backed MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s remarks that Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties should not play junior partner to Umno in the ruling coalition.

In a show of solidarity, party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon today said that Dr Chua’s unhappiness over the way decisions were made in BN “reflect the perception of the non-Malay community”.

During last weekend’s BN convention, Dr Chua took a direct swipe at Umno by pointing out that MCA was not in agreement with how important government policy decisions were made during Umno Supreme Council meetings instead of in Cabinet.

This prompted Umno vice president Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to claim yesterday that Dr Chua had upset a good number of leaders — including those in MCA — with his speech.

Similarly, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi said Dr Chua’s statements were untrue, unnecessary and not in tandem with the prime minister’s views or those of other BN component party leaders.

Koh today emphasised that democracy must be practiced within BN and component parties must be given the democratic space to express their views in a positive and constructive manner, within the framework of BN’s basic tenets and policies.

“Announcing major government policies after Umno meetings and not just after Cabinet and BN meetings have given rise to the perception that BN is not quite a coalition of equals as stated in the BN constitution,” said Dr Koh.

The senator stressed that this was the only way to effectively represent the interests of all Malaysians and win their support for BN as a whole.

“On this particular matter, it is best that we do not overreact against one another in the open but make full use of internal mechanisms available to us like the Cabinet and BN meetings,” he added.

“I advise all parties to move on and focus on the transformation process and realise the 1 Malaysia concept spearheaded by the prime minister and BN chairman, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.”