PETALING JAYA, 19 May 2009: The post of Barisan Nasional (BN) chief coordinator for Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was in the works even before he revealed that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was wooing him, the MCA deputy president said today.
Chua said the position had nothing to do with news that he was being enticed to join PR.
“I’ve said before that I’m a party man and have been for 25 years. To leave this party is not an easy thing,” he said at a press conference today.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced during a BN supreme council meeting that Chua would be given the newly-created post. His duty is to strengthen the BN machinery in states ruled by PR.
Chua said the post came about as a result of private discussions between him and Najib, who is also the BN chairperson. Chua said he had met the prime minister twice in one-to-one talks, and the third time with MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
Asked if Ong had brokered the position for him, Chua said he did not know if his president had had any private discussions with Najib on the matter.
Chua said the states under his purview included Perak, which was governed by PR for a year before BN took over the state government on 5 Feb. Other PR-led states are Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor.
He added that Negeri Sembilan and Johor were also in his portfolio, not because BN was weak there, but because Najib wanted the coalition to be strengthened in those states.
He said he would report to Najib and keep Ong informed as well.
Chua said he would meet BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor soon and the relevant state BN chairpersons on which states to start work on.
The plan for the states concerned includes BN service centres and BN-driven programmes for constituents. This would be a different approach from the current practice whereby each component party operates independently.
“At the moment, each component party runs its own service centre and organises its own activities. We need to ensure close cooperation between the component parties and to move as one team. This is in line with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia,” Chua said.
He said the machinery in the states that BN lost also needed moral support as some BN workers were disheartened after losing in the 2008 general election.
It’s ok to meet Husam
Chua also defended his meeting with Pas vice-president Datuk Husam Musa to discuss Perak politics as a move done in his personal capacity.
“There is nothing wrong for politicians to meet from time to time in to establish understanding and good ties, even though they may be from different parties,” Chua said when asked whether his meeting with Husam yesterday had MCA’s approval.
MCA president Ong today said that the meeting was not sanctioned by the party.
Asked if his stand on the Perak crisis, which he believed had to be resolved through fresh elections at some point, was different from the BN’s which has so far wanted to avoid a snap poll, Chua said the legislative assembly should first vote on the menteri besar before seeking dissolution.
He said if PR’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was eventually decided by the courts as the rightful menteri besar, he should be bold enough to go back to the assembly for a vote of confidence.
If Nizar fails to get the majority confidence, he could then advise the sultan on dissolving the House, Chua said.
“Only after a vote in the assembly has Nizar got basis to request Tuanku for dissolution,” he said.