Categorised | News

Pakatan Rakyat courts Chua Soi Lek

PETALING JAYA, 30 April 2009: MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has publicly admitted for the first time that he is being courted by Pakatan Rakyat parties.

He has been turning the idea of defecting over and over in his mind ever since it was proposed following the sex video scandal that resulted in his resignation from all party and government posts in January 2008.

Blogs have been speculating about the possibility of Chua leaving the MCA and Barisan Nasional (BN), but the former health minister has yet to make up his mind. He has, however, no qualms speaking openly about it.

“There are approaches made to me to jump ship. I should not deny it, because sooner or later this thing will come out in the open,” he told The Nut Graph in an exclusive interview yesterday.

He said he has also received suggestions that his son, Labis Member of Parliament (MP) Chua Tee Yong, should quit the party as well.

“[Leaving the party was one of the] many options being tossed around. That’s true. A lot of people have seen me quietly. A lot of people also want me to persuade my son to resign as an MP, thereby forcing a by-election.

“And since Johor has always been regarded as the fortress of the BN, that would be a good testing ground,” he said.

Chua said he has not yet considered which party he would join if he left the MCA. He declined to reveal which parties had approached him.

“The options are very limited,” he noted.

Breaking point?

Despite the sex video scandal, Chua is more tenacious than his opponents may have bargained for. He has definitely not faded into political oblivion. Indeed, he was returned uncontested as the MCA Batu Pahat division chief in the divisional polls last July.

Ong Tee Keat
In the October party polls, his popularity was again proven when he beat then secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan in the deputy president’s contest. Despite his political comeback within the MCA, the offers for him to join another party have continued as the rift between him and president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat remains open.

Even after coming clean about his sex scandal, Chua has been criticised by Ong for being morally tainted. The war of words between the two leaders went on right up to the party elections.

Chua was considered effectively sidelined when Ong, as the new president, gave him the newly formed Government Policy Monitoring bureau, while excluding him from the Johor MCA line-up.

Despite Ong’s denials that he was isolating Chua, the deputy president now feels his role in the MCA is diminished. Chua said his position as head of the bureau required him to be critical, but his comments were not accepted.

“I’m willing to resign [from the bureau]. My character is such that if I cannot function in a role that I’m given, I’m willing, and I’m seriously considering resigning,” he said.


Noncommittal about when he would decide to leave the MCA, Chua said the recent spate of by-elections has kept him with the party because of his loyalties to the BN.

“This is the party where I’ve spent over 20 years. As a party man, when it’s time to contribute to the party, I should do it. During the recent by-elections, I played a role. It’s not good for me to jump ship just like that; people will say you are just an opportunist.”

But the writing appears to be on the wall, and Chua admitted that he is at a crossroads.

“I don’t jump ship because I’m disgruntled and unhappy. I don’t think I will do that. I will jump ship only when I find I have no meaningful role to play,” he said.

TNG: Tell us about your role as head of your party’s government policy-monitoring bureau.

Chua: You can say my role is very limited despite being the second man in the second largest component party. Limited in the sense that I do not hold any government post.

As for being chairman of the monitoring bureau, I used to be very active the first three months. After that I found that by being critical of other people, somehow or other people don’t take kindly to me. They think I have a very personal agenda. So I thought, if society is like that, they don’t want others to be critical, then I come to accept the fact that I should be more toned down.

So, how is the bureau functioning now?

I must admit that it’s not been functioning in the last four months.

You’re saying this in public?

Oh, it’s okay, I’m even willing to resign. My character is such that if I cannot function in a role that I’m given, I’m willing, and I’m seriously considering resigning.

You aside, the bureau has an important function?

It has a role to play if people can take it in an open-minded manner. But the problem is when I open my mouth, people say I have a personal agenda.

So the problem is how you’re still perceived in the party.

Ya, and I don’t want to fight against this perception all my life lah. Why should I want to?

Other than that, what has it been like since you were elected deputy president?

Very free. I only attend presidential council and central committee meetings. Nobody refers anything to me nowadays.

Ultimately how does that make you feel?

I don’t feel upset. I feel that the time has come when people assign you that role which is a no-role, then I play the no-role business lah.

Are there restrictions placed on you?

There are no restrictions, but everything is very subtle. I give you an example: when the government imposed double the levy on foreign workers in certain sectors of the economy, don’t you think this matter comes under the party’s government policy-monitoring bureau? And yet the presidential council makes a decision to leave it to the Public Complaints Bureau. So I’m not going to fight with people to work.

Another example is how my son (Tee Yong) and [I] worked together on a proposal for the government to take over PLUS. My son was also invited to make a presentation to the presidential council. After that I thought the party would say, that as the head of the bureau, I should be heading the task force. But I’m not; the party appointed a different person.

So the gist of it [is], I’m not going to fight with people to work. If people want to put up obstacles in a very subtle and clever way so that I cannot function properly, then let it be.

Journalists surrounding Chua after he was elected MCA deputy president.
Behind him, in glasses, is his son Tee Yong

In the light of all this, there were internet rumours that you might leave the party.

There are many options being tossed around, and one of the options is to leave the party. That’s true. A lot of people have seen me quietly. A lot of people also want me to persuade my son to resign as an MP, thereby forcing a by-election. And since Johor has always been regarded as the fortress of the BN, that would be a good testing ground.

And your reaction to these suggestions?

I’ve been a party man for nearly 25 years. I have to give deep thoughts to these suggestions before making any final decision. As for my son, I always leave it to him to decide. Because there are people telling my son that however hard you work, chances are you might not even be the candidate the next round.

If you leave, which party would you join?

I’ve not given serious consideration to it. But the options are very limited also.

Which is the most attractive party?

I think they’re all almost the same, nowadays. It’s either PKR or the DAP.

If you leave, how many would go along with you?

There are also different schools of thought. That you should not go with a big hoo-ha. There are people who believe that some will want to leave, and some will want to stay back so as to sabotage the party machinery.

You understand how party politics is played out? Once you leave you got no more influence in the party already. So you should leave some people behind, so that when you go there is still a link in between.

How long ago were these suggestions made?

Oh, a long time. People have been approaching me. After the video scandal, and after I won the deputy presidency also, and then it became more of late.

Why is it heating up again of late?

Well, they feel that maybe I’m one of those disgruntled candidates who can jump ship. But I don’t jump ship because I’m disgruntled and not happy. I don’t think I will do that. I will jump ship only when I find I have no meaningful role to play.

That’s already happening?

I can see that it is slowly happening.

So you will wait till it reaches a certain point?

There’s a limit to everyone’s tolerance.

Where is your level now?

I don’t know, there is no level like the World Health Organisation pandemic type of level, level one to level six.

You’re saying you’ve been approached by the opposition?

Oh yes, it’s true.

Can you be specific?

No, I will not mention names. It was all done in the confidence of trust. And people know that I’m trustworthy and I don’t reveal people.

You’re being very open about this, are you trying to send a message?

I’ve always been open, even about my personal life.

Even the president knows you might want to leave?

I don’t know that.

How is your relationship with him?

We have a meeting relationship. A working relationship. That’s all. There’s discussion on a needs basis, whenever there is a meeting. I will only speak when I need to. I’m not good at apple-polishing people. It’s not my character to initiate and talk and curry favour. No, I’m not good at that.

When will you come to a decision about leaving?

When the time is right.

What factors must happen?

Oh, so many factors. One is if I feel I cannot contribute meaningfully to the party anymore, then why should I warm the seat?

But it’s already like that, you’re just warming the seat.

It’s because during the by-election I played some role. As a party man, when it’s time to contribute to the party, I should do it. There are so many by-elections, if I jump ship, people think I’m just being an opportunist.

So you’ll help the BN in Penanti

It’s like this, if there is a by-election, I should not do anything to destabilise the BN, at least.

You sound caught, still loyal to the BN, but torn about going over to the other side.

There are approaches made to me to jump ship. I should not deny it, because sooner or later this thing will come out in the open.

So you’re weighing…

This is the party where I spent 20 over years. It’s just like a marriage. Some marriages don’t last 25 years. I’ve been ketua bahagian of Batu Pahat since 1985 till now.

You would leave the MCA and the BN just because you don’t have a role in the party?

When you reach a junction, you have to decide whether you want to turn left, turn right or go straight.

Your decision to leave, would it be about you yourself or the BN?

It’s not about me alone, how much weight do I have? Maybe within the party and the BN there are some who will say “good riddance to bad rubbish”. They may think that I’m a liability, as what some MCA people think I am. After the election, the MCA integrity watch group said I should step down, after I had won.

If you leave, would it be because you feel you could serve society in a better capacity elsewhere?

I’ve always been a politician from the 1980s to now, and I’m still keen to serve. If I cannot find a meaningful role to play, then I may have to seek a different platform. Simple as that.

It’s not that you are being sidelined?

No. When I came back and I won, I never said I want to be a minister. It’s only the Chinese press who played it up. I only said whether I’m in or not, I want my president to be very frank with me. Because I’m frank with others.

On Monday: Soi Lek on balancing the politics of race

Post to Twitter Post to Google Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon

Tags: , , , , ,

36 Responses to “Pakatan Rakyat courts Chua Soi Lek”

  1. bwho says:

    Totally agree that you jump ship – what is the point of staying in an organisation that you can’t perform moreover having a stubborn superior.

  2. HUMANMIRROR says:

    “Am I in or not?” – If this is not “I want to be minister,” what is it? Why he picked to return to Health Ministry? “Unfinished” jobs?

  3. Andrew I says:

    ‘There are many options being “tossed” around.

    ‘A lot of people have seen me quietly.’

    I’m sure they have. I’m not a big fan of utter-a-word-every-twenty-seconds Ong, but I find his predicament understandable.

    It’s really not a good idea, PKR. We haven’t reached the standards of Italian politics just yet.

  4. MovingForward says:

    He is a sincere politician, and has paid a price for infidelity. Nobody’s perfect. He is focused on doing good for the nation, and he has the experience and track record to prove his political worth. He is not going to be around forever, so let’s not waste his potential by blocking him further.

  5. PH Chin says:

    “I’m even willing to resign. My character is such that if I cannot function in a role that I’m given, I’m willing, and I’m seriously considering resigning.”

    Dr Chua, why not join PR. Whether a BN Cat or a PR Cat, I believe you are a Good Cat.

    “Black Cat or White Cat. It’s a Good Cat if it Catches the Mouse, Deng Xiaopeng. (1989)”

  6. gk says:

    It is very clear that he wants you out short of telling you to leave. It’s rather stupid or ungentlemanly to do so since you were returned by the delegates. So,delegates, what are you doing? Stand up or get out!

  7. Edison Chen says:

    Now that you cannot get anything from MCA, you wanna dice with the enemy. What kind of principles are those?

  8. George Chan says:

    I call on Pakatan to be wary about taking these kind of people. When cannot get anything, jump ship.

  9. beeyong says:

    A world religion mentioned that we should not regret our past, we should not worry of our future but live NOW. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”… this is present need of our time … 2009.

  10. MZZainal says:

    Ong Tee Keat is only keen to politically isolate Chua Soi Lek. It seems Ong has no use for Chua’s social proficiency. Chua should just leave MCA, as it is a rotting ship doomed to fail.

  11. Wave33 says:

    Ong Tee Keat is the culprit and is continuing a dictatorship perhaps from the teaching of Ling Liong Sik. The delegates have put Chua Soi Lek as the second man, Ong Tee Keat DID NOT respect the delegates’ request. Instead of serving the delegates, Ong Tee Keat gets to dictate.

  12. at says:

    I don’t see any reason why DSDr Chua should leave the party. At the last party election the members had decided and voted DSDr Chua as deputy president. This is a mandate not only to DSDr Chua but to all elected officials. The result clearly amplified the members’ wishes. If the president cannot accept the members’ decision, then he should go, not those who embrace and respect the supremacy of the members. Sidelining the members’ decision is at good as ignoring the mandate of the members. Members must act on this anomaly.

  13. Darren says:

    I think it is high time for Mr Chua to leave MCA because MCA does not represent us Chinese as a whole.

  14. Rambo_8 says:

    Met CSL once to hear him speak at a function in at Bkt Rimau-Shah Alam back in 2004, was impressed by his polished style, logic and clarity of thought. I will support him should he join PR or become an independent MP (should there be another federal by-election). CSL, you have no future in MCA/BN. Time to leave before it’s too late.

  15. mchan says:

    One of the more frank political comments – almost like Presedent Obama’s! Wish you all the best in your future political role.

  16. Jailani Sulaiman says:

    YB Dr Chua had always been negated by many, foes and friends for being consistent of the real person he really is. That’s crystal clear to all. What I want to comment is, nowadays be it in Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan there’s not many stalwarts for the new generation to idolise themselves to. Should Dr Chua stay on, he is wasting his and everybody’s time … not much he could do unless and until somebody’s head rolls. Should he ‘jump-track’ (I prefer this than jump ship as our beloved YB is seen as a super heavy weight that moves as ‘kepala keretapi’ not the ‘gerabak’) our YB can carry fresh cargo much faster and efficient than others in MCA, DAP or PKR. In which this can be seen as how he handles crisis. His deep, thoughtful and brainier than other politicians’ utterances. He is much needed in MCA/BN no doubt about that and he should be made party president without doubt too if only MCA’s top rank members come to their senses and are honest about it.

    Jumping track to PKR will have a lesser impact as compared to jumping to DAP or Gerakan. And for the sake of his loyal supporters from BP, Johor, Pahang and Selangor … DAP or Gerakan will be their preferred choice, even a welcomed one.

    Gerakan will be lots easier and better positioned than DAP, as it is a BN component still. All this while we have seen what Chua has contributed to BP, Johor and Malaysia wholesomely during his tenure. Now it is about time we all to see what impact or casualties will follow should YB jump to DAP or Gerakan.

    Dr Chua knows this rather too well. This powerful locomotive from Johor is really a seasoned politician and he is at his peak now more than ever … and that’s why he’s being sidelined by Ong Tee Kiat.

    I’m all for Dr Chua.

  17. aras says:

    Ok, you made a mistake. I think you should be forgiven and I am sure all the goons over there have some dark secrets hiding in their closets, waiting to be revealed. To be frank, I think the MCA and the MIC goons are only looking after their pockets. Are they really sincere in looking after the welfare of Malaysians, who are the tax payers? The problem is, these goons forget where their money is coming from. It is from the RAKYAT. Go join DAP, I think that party is worth fighting for!

  18. Kenny Gan says:

    I think Chua is a politician of integrity who is willing to serve the public and play a role in society instead of some politicians who are only interested in serving themselves. We should not hold anything against his infidelity. For those who are still harping on it, I can say with confidence that the difference between Chua and 90% of them is that Chua was caught and they weren’t.

    Having said this, it’s painfully obvious that Chua will continue to be sidelined in MCA. He is wasting his time there. It can be seen that enemies in his party will continue to bring up his infidelity to keep him in line.

    So Chua should just jump ship to either DAP or PKR but definitely not to Gerakan. Gerakan is a sinking ship, already irrelevant to BN and will be wiped out in the next general election.

    The fact that PR leaders can approach Chua shows that they are willing to look beyond his personal affairs instead of taking a moral high horse position. Dr Chua should take up this offer and contribute his talent to help build a better Malaysia.

  19. kl chong says:

    Datuk Chua,

    Please, you are really a capable leader. You are the only one I trust in MCA. I won’t use the word jump ship, just that you provide your service and energy to a more meaningful party.

  20. Ong Tiong Tai says:

    Dr Chua,

    MCA is a bankrupt party that only serves to fulfill the interests of Umno – their lap dog. It barks only when told to bark, not otherwise, so it is a rather impotent dog!

    MCA is now being led by a subservient Ong Tee Keat. MCA is never going to amount to anything, so it is best you leave now and join DAP (not PKR) while you are the “deputy president”.

    Attempts to bring you down will only continue and your wings have been clipped since you won the deputy presidency, against the hypocritical notion of “everything being well” instituted by Ong Tee Keat.

    Stop wasting your time – the time to move is now. Yes, and do tell your son to resign as MP too.

    I don’t care about your sex scandals – there are no saints amongst us. You got caught unfortunately. I like you as an individual and the fact that you speak straight and from the heart.

    At least you don’t blink and ponder before uttering a word – and then talk with a crooked smile while focussing your glasses.

    That is a devious mind at work – a crook bent on deceiving the people, contrary to what he says.

  21. Edward says:

    CSL should resign from MCA. Join PKR. Next elections become CM of Johor.

    Hurray. Malaysia getting rid of BN!

  22. Wave33 says:

    There are just too many comments here asking CSL to leave. The only person [who should] leave and resign is ONG TEE KEAT. CSL has to stay on and fight OTK. Ong Tee Keat has “derhaka” towards the delegates who put Chua Soi Lek as the party’s number 2. Respect members’ wishes, give CSL a leading role as No. 2. Ong Tee Keat is acting more like Samy Vellu. Suppressing the No.2 was Samy Vellu’s hobby in MIC, so, too OTK from the looks of it. The raykat do not need power-hungry people to be ministers; we need people’s servant to serve us.

  23. kimi says:

    Leave the sinking ship now. Join Gerakan and take over the helm or DAP or PKR.
    Contribute to society.

  24. Fikri Roslan says:

    I think Dr Chua should keep his position to himself right now. He is a seasoned politician and the current situation is very mild compared to what he experienced during the scandal. I do not think switching camps is good at his age. He would be remembered as a good MCA leader that fought for his constituency. Wish him all the best.

  25. Malaysian says:

    Dr Chua should resign from MCA and join PR. Better still form his own party, bring all his supporters and join PR. That would pave the route to PR to form the next government with a capable minister.

  26. Martin Lee says:

    I agree with what you said about a change in the leadership of BN. But do you really think that the BN will take on whatever you said? I don’t think so because BN is too arrongant…..Jump to DAP and maybe you can change the Johor BN to Johor DAP. It would be great….

  27. F.Xavier says:

    If you stay on in MCA, it will stifle any remaining zeal you may have to serve. A lot of folks including yourself Mr Chua are afraid of change. Surely, in these volatile days, the only thing that seems permanent is change.

    We need to be more fluid to survive the times. Having this in mind, you need not bother about what others think about you. Only guard your heart for out of it are the issues of life and death. We the people forgive you. If you confess your sins, God will not only forgive you but cleanse you with the blood of His Son Jesus so that you stand in his sight just as if you have not sinned.

    That is so powerful when you come clean nationally. Exposing your sins to the nation is death to pride, ego and the natural soul life but out of this will come forth a new man in God; humble, chastened and compassionate. You are a courageous man. Go where your heart leads, not your head and you will be fruitful and fulfilled. God bless.

  28. Vedana says:

    Maybe Chua should just quit and become a farmer. Increasing agricultural production could lower the prices of food. This is a very meaningful role.

  29. r_venugopal says:

    Dr Chua,

    Firstly, congratulations for being open and honest in saying what is happpening today. It is time for you to think very carefully about how much you could contribute to the community and the rakyat. In MCA, you serve the Chinese [Malaysian] interest more than the others, we need people like you to serve the rakyat. May God help you to make a wise decision and give you the energy to face the challenges because you are given a second option. Best of luck to you.

  30. Han Seng says:

    Yes, no point staying with MCA…They just think they are the moral police judging other [peoples’] morals. Please lar solve corruption, toll, crime, traffic jams, public transport, ISA, press freedom…….

  31. Jtut says:

    What are you waiting for! Jump ship and later you can serve the rakyat better with more genuine people around.

  32. Dato'Seri STKS says:

    Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek,

    You and the president are duly and democratically elected by MCA. You are not a loser, remember!

    You should be using your whole world of time to restrategise and consolidate your position within the party from the ground and come back to haunt him.

    You should launch a nationwide tour and organise ceramah and build up your support from the ground and focus on calling an EGM to deliver a no-confidence vote against your president who has been clearly marginalising and sidelining you. He is clearly “choking and squeezing your neck” politically and want to see that you have no role to play in the party.

    In politics, don’t declare a loss and don’t give up easily without putting up a fight for whatever is right. I am from Batu Pahat and we from BP are “gung ho” about whatever we do; be it in politics or business.

    Pakatan Rakyat is there to welcome you and your supporters and your strong grassroot support will clearly be an added advantage for PR to make strong inroads into Johor.

  33. OCSunny says:

    If you you move over to another political party, I think you actually have two choices, namely, DAP or Gerakan. Both will take you in but I think your inclination is towards Gerakan. All the best to you.

  34. MAIL MATHEW says:

    Dr Chua,

    I think it’s better to join PKR rather than stay in MCA. What’s the point if you’re not given a role in MCA? Wasting time!

  35. Chi Yau says:

    Datuk Seri, you have to decide fast and your decision has to be firm and final.

  36. dusunbukit says:

    Based on the statement from Umno Youth on TV3 yesterday, it seems that other BN component parties are useless. It seems that Umno is trying to be a multi-racial party by inviting all Malaysians to join them. So, what is going to happen to MCA, MIC and other component parties?

    The best solution for CSL is to join PR…welcome to the real Malaysian coalition.

Most Read (Past 3 Months)

Most Comments (Past 3 Months)

  • None found




  • The Nut Graph


Switch to our mobile site