Tee Keat vows to run for MP even if dropped

By Melissa Chi,The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat vowed tonight to contest in the next general election, despite criticisms from leaders of his own coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

The former MCA president was responding to a report in the Chinese press over the weekend that Pandan Umno deputy chief Major (Rtd) Izeham Hamid had submitted a “formula” with a list of candidates for the Pandan constituency for the next elections and had also included “winnable” factors.

In it, Izeham pointed out that the Pandan MP had a certain amount of influence in the past as the deputy youth and sports minister and as the MCA president, but is now a “nobody”.

Today, Ong said that it is not up to him to comment whether Izeham’s words carry any weight or not.

“I learned to respect all the differing views, including criticisms against me, but whether or not I’m up to the mark… my answer is, let the people judge me and let the people tell us aloud their choices through the ballot box,” he said.

Izeham added that the former MCA leader could not even work well with his own party members, but stopped short of saying that he should resign.

On Saturday, the Umno man also claimed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak agreed with the “formula” but did not elaborate further. He said this following the prime minister’s meeting with 118 BN division leaders at the Putra World Trade Centre.

“I learned to be cautiously optimistic, meaning no matter how tough [the] situation turns out to be but I think it’s only fair that I prepare to the fullest before I enter the ring, so to speak,” Ong said today.

He said he would still contest even if MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek dropped him from the candidates’ list for the next election, but added that was a “far-fetched” idea.

“I never make such presumptions and I never talked to him on this and I don’t think it’s fair for me to prejudge anybody,” he said.

When asked if he planned to run for the MCA presidency again, Ong said that was beyond his control.

“But I won’t run away from this area; that, I think, is my responsibility,” he stressed.

Ong had also been transport minister until he lost the party elections.