KUALA LUMPUR, 13 Oct 2008: It will be a one-to-one battle for the MCA top post at the party elections on 18 Oct, with vice-president and favourite Datuk Ong Tee Keat battling it out with former vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
At the close of nomination for national positions at the party headquarters this evening, only the two leaders had filed their nomination papers for the presidency.
The MCA nominations, devoid of any surprises, saw intense contest for all positions – president, deputy president, four posts of vice-president and 25 posts of central committee (CC) members.
Ong, who is also the transport minister, filed his papers soon after nomination opened at 1pm while Chua, the former health minister, submitted his bid at about 3.30pm, confirming the tussle to decide the 59-year-old party’s eighth president. Nominations closed at 5pm.
For the deputy presidency, four candidates filed their nomination papers. There are MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek, Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai and Lee Hack Teik.
In this race, Ka Chuan, the elder brother of outgoing president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, seems to have the edge over Soi Lek, the former health minister who resigned from the Cabinet late last year after a video of him in a “compromising” position with his girlfriend was made public.
Donald Lim, the incumbent vice-president, and Lee, a former state assemblyperson, are considered spoilers in the race.
The deputy presidency fell vacant after incumbent Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy declined to seek re-election.
Eight candidates are vying for the four posts of vice-president, with incumbent Datuk Seri Fong Chan Onn leading the charge.
The others are Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen; Datuk Kong Cho Ha, the Lumut Division chief who topped the list of 25 elected CC members at the last party elections; Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, former MCA Youth chief and current health minister; Datuk Chor Chee Heung, deputy home minister and Alor Star Member of Parliament; Datuk Yap Pian Hon, former MCA vice-president and former Serdang MP; Lim Teck Chong, Kuala Langat MCA Division vice-chairman; and Tan Kok Heng of Johor.
The second largest political party in the country will hold its elections on 18 Oct.
Met by reporters at the close of nomination, Tee Keat said he would campaign as much as possible to win votes.
“On my plans for MCA if I win, I have already mentioned it in my manifesto. I am open to the multiracial outlook too. But our approach should be to fight for all races, not only for the Chinese,” he added.
On the inclusion of non-Chinese in the MCA, he said it must first obtain the blessings of MCA members.
Jui Meng, on the other hand, accepted that he was the underdog in the contest and hoped that delegates would cast their votes based on his service.
“This is the political and democratic process we should abide by. I hope it would be a clean contest and I am sure the delegates want it that way,” he said.
For the 25 CC seats, a massive battle is on the cards, with 63 candidates in the fray. — Bernama