KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Oct 2008: Datuk Ong Tee Keat was elected the president of MCA tonight while Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was elected his deputy in the keenest contested party elections ever.
Former Wanita chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen also made party and Barisan Nasional (BN) history by becoming the first elected woman vice-president.
Tee Keat, 52, polled 1,429 votes, winning with a majority of 512 votes. He beat former vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng, 64, who garnered 917 votes. There were 22 spoilt votes.
“I don’t want to talk at length. Our major task is to immediately launch MCA’s transformation plans, and start the work now,” said Tee Keat briefly before he left the MCA headquarters.
This is the second time Jui Meng has lost in his bid to become party president.
In 2005, he lost a bruising election against Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting where he only won one third of the votes.
Jui Meng expressed disappointment with the election results but said he accepted the delegates’ decision with an open heart.
He said he would only decide later about his political career.
Soi Lek’s comeback
In the closely-fought race for the deputy presidency, former vice-president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek managed to trounce MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan with 1,115 votes, winning with a majority of 114 votes.
It was a comeback for Soi Lek, a former health minister who resigned from all government and party posts in January 2008 after being embroiled in a sex video scandal.
Ka Chuan, who secured 1,001 votes, is the elder brother of outgoing president Ka Ting who had said he would not be defending his post.
Because Soi Lek and Ka Ting are known to be in different camps, Soi Lek’s victory over Ka Chuan is seen in some circles as being a rejection of the Ong brothers’ leadership.
Soi Lek said he would cooperate with Tee Keat and other central committee members in order to reinvent MCA post-March general election.
Pressed further about whether he could work with Tee Keat who has criticised him on his morality, Soi Lek said personal attacks were common in elections.
“My priority is to unite the party and later transform the party to fulfill the aspiration of the Chinese community,” he said, adding that the party would be able to close ranks after the party election.
“I always had confidence in MCA delegates’ wisdom that they know how to separate my public performance from my private life,” Soi Lek said when asked how he felt about making a comeback to the party’s central leadership.
The four-cornered fight for the deputy president’s post also saw former vice-president Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai securing 209 votes, and Lee Hack Teik merely 10 votes. Both were seen as spoilers in the race. There were 33 spoilt votes.
Ng’s victory a BN watershed
In the hotly-fought race for four vice-president seats, Lumut division chief Datuk Kong Cho Ha scored the highest with 1,798 votes, followed by former MCA Youth chief and current Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai with 1,725 votes.
Ng managed to gain third place with 1,659 votes, while Johor MCA chief Tan Kok Hong secured the fourth vice-president’s post with 1,329 votes.
Ng Yen Yen Ng said her victory was a watershed in Malaysian politics because she was not just the first elected woman party vice-president in MCA but also within a BN component party.
“It is definitely a progression for women, and I am going to propose gender-sensitive policies as my first project,” said Ng after her victory tonight.
The other four who contested for the vice-presidency but lost were Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung (1,233 votes), former vice-president Datuk Seri Fong Chan Onn (883 votes), former MCA vice-president Datuk Yap Pian Hon (445 votes) and Kuala Langat MCA division vice-chairperson Lim Teck Chong (268 votes).
The MCA’s 55th annual assembly had the highest number of delegates with 2,378 attending the party convention.
Members said this reflected the enthusiasm of delegates in reforming the party after its disappointing performance in the March 2008 general election.