(from left) Liow, Tee Keat, Chua and NgKUALA LUMPUR, 19 Oct 2008: The post of MCA secretary-general, currently held by Datuk Ong Ka Chuan who lost in his bid for the deputy presidency, will be filled later.
Speaking at a press conference today at the close of the 55th MCA annual general assembly, newly-elected party president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said he would call for a meeting with the new central committee to discuss the secretary-general’s post. But he declined to say when this would take place.
It is the party president’s prerogative to appoint the secretary-general. Given Ka Chuan’s loss, his future in the party remains unclear.
Tee Keat said the meeting will also discuss the cabinet positions of Ka Chuan, who is the Housing and Local Government Minister, and two other deputy ministers who lost in their bids.
They are Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung, who vied for a vice-president post, and Deputy Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Teng Boon Soon, who contested for a spot in the central committee.
The leadership will also discuss the proposal for a second BN deputy chair post to be created and given to the MCA.
“Much has been said on how to regain equal footing with Umno in the BN, and now it’s time to sum it up. We will deliberate all this at length in our meeting,” Tee Keat said at the press conference, which was also attended by newly-elected deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, and newly-elected vice-presidents Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen..
In his winding up speech at the end of the assembly, Tee Keat told delegates they could expect him to have a good working relationship with his deputy, Chua.
Tee Keat and Chua traded barbs before the party election regarding the latter’s morality and suitability to stand as a candidate. Chua, a former Health Minister, was embroiled in a sex video scandal and had resigned from cabinet and party posts in January this year.
“We are both assertive but we can work together. It is the delegates who want us to work together by voting for us,” the new president said.
Tee Keat also promised to pursue a review of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which was one of the resolutions adopted at the AGM.
The resolution also called for a check-and-balance system to monitor the use of the 1960 law originally created to counter communists during the Emergency.
The resolution said that the Act should only be used strictly for terrorism cases.
He said outdated laws should be reviewed, and he and other new party leaders would follow this through using “the proper channels in the Barisan Nasional (BN)”.
Speaking to reporters after closing the assembly, Tee Keat said he would make good on this resolution by taking it up in the BN government.
“I and the other top party leaders will pursue this through proper channels in the BN,” Tee Keat said.
Resolutions calling for a review of the ISA were also passed by the MCA Wanita and Youth wings in their respective assemblies on 17 Oct.