MUAR, 17 July 2009: Former health minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng yesterday resigned as chairperson of the Bakri MCA Division, which he helmed since 1988, but dismissed talk that he was also quitting the party to joining Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
Instead, he urged all the division committee members to give their undivided support to MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
“The time has come for me to give way to a younger person. In the history of the MCA, rarely has any chief handed over his post to an opponent after a fierce contest the previous year.
“I have forgiven those who have challenged me in last year’s elections. I want them to look ahead. I do not want them to oppose again due to trivial matters,” he said at a news conference yesterday at the Bakri MCA Division office, here.
Chua had earlier held a closed-door meeting with his supporters for about an hour at the division office. He also handed over the post of divisional chairperson to the deputy, Sia Ka Tuan.
Replying to questions, Chua said this was not the first time there was talk of him joining the opposition.
“At the last general election, I was made an offer to contest as an opposition candidate but I rejected it,” he said.
He said that at the meeting with the divisional committee members, he had asked them to support Ong whom, he said, he had invited twice to visit the Bakri division.
“By this (resignation), I have acted to reunite the party members,” he said, emphasising that his resignation did not mean that he would remain silent.
In the MCA elections last year, Chua lost in his bid for the presidency. He had also lost in his first bid for the post in 2005.
He was not picked to be the BN candidate for the Bakri parliamentary seat in 2008 general election. The seat was won by the opposition.
Commenting on his future, Chua said he would continue with his vision, as stated in his manifesto when contesting the MCA presidency in 2005 and 2008, of wanting the government leadership to review the New Economic Policy and champion the rights of all races in the country.
“I believe Malaysia can become a wealthy country, much wealthier than Singapore, and I want the wealth of the country to be returned to the people of all races in the country,” he said. — Bernama