Chua still stuck in the past

By Stanley Koh
Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT Yesterday’s announcement of a Cabinet reshuffle tells us much about what went on in MCA President Dr Chua Soi Lek’s mind as he juggled with the names of party leaders to recommend for ministerial positions. The public can now judge whether he has been following the “philosophy of the humble ant” in leading the MCA, as he promised in his campaign for the presidency.

His political rivals are putting on a sober and subdued face while frantically sending out cryptic messages to their supporters, no doubt commenting on the Cabinet changes.

Has Chua been true to his election pledge to follow the doctrine of “no more yes men” and no more favouritism in party and government appointments? To put it another way, has he wisely picked credible and capable leaders?

Some of his more vocal critics are asking whether the MCA ministerial line-up reflects “credible and capable leadership that combines the right mix of experience, attitude and talent to reflect the aspirations of the grassroots” as he promised last March during his campaign for the party presidency.

“This is the worse line-up since the days of former president Lee San Choon,” the chairman of an MCA division in the Klang Valley told FMT on condition of anonymity.

Chua’s detractors are claiming that he has not departed from the old practice of rewarding staunch key supporters with a jolly good pat on the back as well as with position.

Some, of course, have shrugged it all off as part of the political game. Chua, in playing the victor, is no different from his predecessors, although he used to accuse them of favouritism.

Kong Cho Ha stands out like a sore thumb. Defeated by Liow Tiong Lai for the deputy president’s post, he was given the job of party secretary-general in order to justify recommending him for a senior Cabinet position. Kong, formerly Housing and Local Government Minister, is now Transport Minister, the post vacated by the removal of Ong Tee Keat, one of Chua’s opponents in the MCA presidential race, the other being Ong Ka Ting.

Chua’s supporters rebut that the adjustments made to the Cabinet reflect the changes in MCA following the March polls.

Ong Tee Keat, MP for Ampang, was dropped in spite of the popularity he has acquired with the general public for his role in exposing corruption in PKFZ.

Wee Jeck Seng, former political secretary to Ong Ka Ting, was dropped from his position as Deputy Youth and Sports Minister.

Chua is also being criticised for nominating his son, Chua Tee Yong, who is now Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries.

The backdoor route

Before yesterday’s announcement, the MCA president was reported to have avoided answering a student who asked about rumours that the junior Chua would be made a deputy minister.

“You seem to know more than me about who should be nominated,” he was quoted as saying. “I would like to appoint you as my adviser.”

Chua has publicly defended his son’s capabilities and qualifications. Tee Yong, MP for Labis, has professional experience as a former chief financial officer in a firm. He graduated from the Mt Eliza Business School and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Nepotism and political patronage seem always to get in the way of election promises.

Najib’s minor reshuffle involves the appointment of 11 senators as deputy ministers. Three of them are from MCA.

Chua appears to have found himself stuck in the politics of the old school. Obviously, he has not fully comprehended the new thinking among a more politically aware public.

He publicly declared he would not endorse himself for a Cabinet posting “through the backdoor” by seeking to be appointed as a senator. Was he being aboveboard or are his detractors speaking the truth when they say he privately lobbied for support to be appointed to the Cabinet.

The new Cabinet line-up shows that he did use the backdoor for his men to join the Cabinet by the senator’s route.

Was it politically wise in the context of enhancing the esteem of his party? Did Chua, in making his recommendations, consider the following: first, the prevailing argument that the Dewan Rakyat—the House of Representatives—should be filled only by elected representatives; second, are those MCA leaders appointed to the Cabinet either academically or professionally matched to their respective portfolios?

“Malaysians have been promised transformation, but the latest appointments fail to point to this direction, especially in MCA,” a party critic said.

“Shouldn’t we learn from Singapore in the appointment of the best professionals to the government ministries?”

Chua recommended senators Heng Seai Kie, Donald Lim Siang Chai and Gan Ping Sieu for deputy minister’s posts.

Heng, who is Wanita Vice Chairman, replaces former Wanita Chief Chew Mei Fun as Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community Development. Chew recently resigned, fulfilling her pledge to do so if Chua, tainted by a sex scandal, became party president.

Donald Lim, who is Selangor MCA chairman and one of the losers in the 2008 general election, is now Deputy Finance Minister.

A silent mutiny

A MCA insider, defending Chua’s decisions, argues that it is the norm for party vice presidents to be given government postings. It is on this ground that the vice presidents and those elected central committee members are recommended for government posts.

Deputy ministers Lee Chee Leong (Home), Dr Hou Kok Chung (Higher Education) and Heng Seai Kie (Women, Family and Community Development) obtained the highest votes respectively in the recent party elections.

Critics of Chua’s choices for the Cabinet are not likely to make their voices heard, but SMS messages are certainly making the rounds.

The president’s detractors and potential challengers are said to be patiently waiting for yet another “Save MCA” campaign. The undercurrents of a silent mutiny are allegedly gathering momentum.

Chua won the MCA presidency by merely 68 votes. That less-than-impressive win, together with his tainted background, may make it tough for him in the next electoral battle.

Will his tenure as president last until the next general election, considering that there is a hidden agenda to oust him?

  1. #1 by pulau_sibu on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 9:21 am

    No Sarawakian MPs came out to replace Taib Mahmud’s son and deceased Robert Lau. It indicated that Sarawak is unimportant when coming to the bigger pieces. It also showed that SUPP is unable to speak out. More than that. There is no more qualified MP in SUPP. The only way would be through the back door entrance.

  2. #2 by Dipoh Bous on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 9:35 am

    …isn’t Richard Riot (from Sarawak) replaces the late Robert Lau?

    …as for the replacement for Taib’s son, don’t worry ‘cos his grandson is coming up soon.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:00 am

    Chua’s detractors and potential challengers should launch a GAC campaign and break away to form a new party, 1mca. Then there will be other new parties such as 1umno, 1gerakan, 1mic, 1ppp, 1supp…..

  4. #4 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:14 am

    Najib make sure Chua Soi Lek is his puppet when he appointed his son in his cabinet.
    Leave the so call great reason given by that low class PM…how smart and how qualified that young man is.
    He appointed Mahathir’s son in and left Khairy …the elected…Youth Chief out…to make sure Mahathir is happy he have nothing to do with Dollah’s relatives too.
    Such is our most sincere PM doing things…right now.
    He dare not sue French government for insulting Malaysia.
    Actually so many International politicians are insulting him…and he ignored suing or answer back…hoping vast majority Malaysians do not know or understand.
    He is telling lies and fooling his own race more than others.
    What a great religious man.. he is..or the greatest liar of all times…you choose.
    If he is the great liar…he also shame his own religion.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:22 am

    The issue with CSL is that he is not much of an intellectual. He is street-smart, an operator. The problem is that the country and the community need real thinkers – people who can design entire elegant systems rather than just tinker with it. Fundamental change are not made by street smart operators. Street-smart operator don’t design grand things. They don’t make fundamental changes. They operate within a given system. They find ways to do well with whatever system exist. They don’t start revolution, they will follow a revolution that get started by someone else.

    The problem is that we need to redesign the entire system. We need a revolution. We need to throw out the entire system and start anew. Keeping the system alive is a disservice and that is what CSL does. So its no surprising he retains elements of the old because he does not know how to NOT to. His mind does not have that elegance of those rare people that designed the original constitution and the founding of the nation. In fact he never and does not care to try because he is good enough to do well without it. He is never going to make those changes because they are the hardest and the riskiest. CSL do not do the hardest and riskiest. He is not a true entreprenuer and visionary. He is a gambler that knows when the odds favour him and opportunities are there for him – not for you and me.

  6. #6 by Bunch of Suckers on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:47 am

    Would we believe a porn star scandal can lead and do better jobs for MCA & Chinese? Same sh*ts for his own benefits with bunch of suckers, sucking off your pockets…..

  7. #7 by ebcheong on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 11:14 am

    i can’t agree with u anymore. malaysians especially chinese will be a laughing stock because a porn superstar appointed to be a leader. it is in deed a doom day for malaysia because after so many years they still talking about racist and our political leader act like only they own this country. Lim Liong Sik trying to make his son be sucessor, so do Lim Kiang Yik, so do mahathir, so do taib mahmud, so do tajudin, so do samy velu, and now the lastest our MCA new boss, Dr chua.

  8. #8 by victimofcorruption on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 11:43 am

    when i was small, i used to think that only MCA can serve and represent the Chinese community (i attended national school)….but now, whatever that MCA leaders had said (with the exception of Datuk OTK), i do not give a damn…

  9. #9 by Cinapek on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 11:47 am

    With this latest shameful act, CSL has just plunged another dagger into the MCA. Already the MCA is on the last leg of its survival. While he and Najib can deny until they are blue in the face about clear and transparent decision making with no nepotism, the public, and especially the Chinese, can see through this. This latest series of appointments is not about putting a strong and the best of the best MCA team into the core of political power but a reward scheme for loyalist supporters and self preservation.

    I have met a young MCA deputy minister years ago over a problem with a Govt. agency under his ministry who was clearly abusing its power. This deputy minister was not only powerless to pull up his civil servant subordinates for an explanation and remedy, he actually chickened out and avoided the issue altogther. I can see this repeated en masse now.

  10. #10 by k1980 on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 12:26 pm

    Viagra Chua will most certainly not allow Ong TK to contest in the 13 GE under the mca banner. The only choice left for Ong is to join PR.

  11. #11 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 12:53 pm

    How much is a Deputy Minister salary plus all the fringe benefits?
    Indirectly….Najib bought up few with tax payers money..doing nothing….but have a track record to be able to pull votes for BN.
    Previously…few village heads were made to live like kings in their villages by UMNO…and awarded small tenders to become rich too…all proven good vote pullers.
    That’s how they bribe indirectly.
    Remember UMNO B have master he art to steal and bribe legally.
    Now no secrets now….all exposed and stealing is from Malaysians.

  12. #12 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 1:05 pm

    I think all PR parties will not trust Ong TK…as he is such a big balls carrier to Najib.
    He is not Malaysian first nor this race second..or vice versa.
    He is a disgrace to his race..although I admire his guts to bring out PKFZ fiasco..which wad dome to make a hero of himself…backfired.
    Failure he is….in MCA.

  13. #13 by albert308 on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 1:41 pm

    CSL had lied to MCA’s central delegates during his presidential campaign which promised inclusive representative.
    How could a loser deputy contender Kong Cho Ha appointed sec-gen and promoted into ‘gold mine’ transport ministry portfolio? Inclusiveness?
    Appoint his son to look after party asset estimated RM2 billion and deputy minister, CSL prepared his son for next MCA president before going into retirement. Absolute cronyism.

    This come as good news as CSL lead MCA into total destruction in the next GE.

  14. #14 by Comrade on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 1:42 pm

    More and more senators joining the race
    They are politicians fallen from grace
    Or those not elected by the populace
    Senatorship is a way for them to seek solace

    These thick-skinned senators are such a bore
    Becoming cabinet ministers through the backdoor
    Only one way this and other problems can be addressed
    Vote in PR for all the injustice to be redressed

  15. #15 by albert308 on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 2:28 pm

    When UMNO and MCA enter the negotiation table, Najib would prefer CSL than OTKeat or any other candidates. With CSL, Najib could say “kita sama-sama kotor, sama-sama busuk”.

  16. #16 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 3:10 pm

    Monsterball seems to dislike OTK for his personal agenda; unless he has some real reason that we don’t know of. If OTK has to be an ABC, surely he wouldn’t have acted the he did with PKFZ. Many people seem born yesterday when they put up their frustration in the blog. Maybe he has been using the blog to hit anyone who has step on some of his heroes in MCA? such as LLS, OKT or who else? One must judge what is done and said in public as all behind then scence agreements are only privy to the parties concerned hence it would be mere guess of any eventuality that may arise. If OTK is what Monsterball thought, surely he would have better way than to expose the PKFZ issue for publicity. He needed only to tell half-truths and leave the rest to the wondering minds. To those who knew better on that subject, we are rather convinced that he had tried his best though the outcome of the exposure will surely sink the current BN component parties and some of their past leaders! So do give him some credit for taking his stand to tell the truth!

  17. #17 by chengho on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 5:21 pm

    father and son politics;
    Kit and Guan Eng/Betty , Karpal and Deo , Anwar with Izzah/Wan azizah , Sam with with Parri , Shahril with Khalid and who else?

  18. #18 by victimofcorruption on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 6:26 pm

    well, if the father and son have got brains, or in a more polite way, put their brains to good use, what is wrong with that?…look at KY Lee and HS Lee…without them, can you see the Singapore today?

  19. #19 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 7:25 pm

    Kit and Son dares to go to jail fighting freedom and justices for Malaysians.
    This pair is a blessing to Malaysia. So is Karpal and son.
    UMNO B father and son pairs are gang of robbers and thieves transferring looting techniques to sons.
    Anwar wife and daughter… by all Malaysians.
    See 12th GE result and learn.
    Chengho is twin brother to Hj Angus.

  20. #20 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 9:26 pm

    Credit to OKT the Najib balls carrier that shame Malaysian Chinese?
    Yu have your opinion….I have mine…..waterfrontcoolie.
    To me..all MCA politicians have been voted out….period.
    Who cares how brave OKT is.
    You are DREAMING…I support any MCA UMNO B.
    If you cannot understand I am fighting for freedom…for Malaysians….you have no business to comment on my message.
    MCA support…to divide and rule….and anyone holding top post before ..after and now…within these 30 MCA have no dignity or principles in life.
    What does MCA stand for?
    And what happened in 12th GE….for MCA….waterfrontcoolie?
    Who cares about OTK or MCA .or their present President.
    It is a sh…t party that shame his own race for decades.

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:09 pm

    Don’t b surprised later 2 read abt a d minister poking, sucking during office hours in a hotel room with A Yam in d name of service 2 d nation – like father like son
    Ai yo yo, SIL is really fuming, upset, angry, n jealous

  22. #22 by grace on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:28 pm

    If MCA can be trusted, tahi pun boleh makan lo!!
    Those MCA supporters are nothing but opportunists pursuing their sellfish agendas.
    And those who supported Chua against Ong Tee Keat must be kicking themselves. His selfish true self is exhibited so clearly that an idiot can see it. .
    MCA must be utterly void of talents. Oop! MCA never realyy had any talents really. It is infested with greedy vultures and leeches

  23. #23 by monsterball on Thursday, 3 June 2010 - 10:49 pm

    Well said Grace. Bless you.
    Waterfrontcoolie….your sense of logic tak boleh pakai.
    OTK did what he did…for his own survival.
    How many votes did OTK get?
    Not that it is important to me..but to point out…quoting Grace…vultures and leeches have ganged up to vote him out.
    On PKFZ RM12.5 billion ripped off…tax payers money…what is the result now?
    Why can’t OTK fight on…since he know so much.
    He has lost…and so PKFZ no more important to him.
    Please make this he last time you insult me .. being a frustrated man.
    You are the one that is frustrated….not me.
    There is nothing to be frustrated about….when a Sibu miracle was seen recently.
    I am sure..if it was MCA that lost the election… will be more frustrated….MCA coolie man.

  24. #24 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 4 June 2010 - 7:32 am

    Coolie, I might be but I do not get carried away by being emotional over this. My belief is to be fair those who have taken a stand based on his conscience. On the issue of PKFZ, it was clearly BN’s decision or for that matter Najib’s decison to remove the issue from him. Ok, maybe he should resign. My point is when you made all those remarks about others, have you ask yourself this question: Would I have done this if I were in his shoe? Yes, talks are cheap, but is your conscience up to it?

  25. #25 by victimofcorruption on Friday, 4 June 2010 - 10:01 am

    now MCA has 15MP…anyone wana bet that the number will be 10 or less come GE13?…betting is legal now right?

  26. #26 by victimofcorruption on Friday, 4 June 2010 - 10:09 am

    monsterball :
    Kit and Son dares to go to jail fighting freedom and justices for Malaysians.
    This pair is a blessing to Malaysia. So is Karpal and son.
    UMNO B father and son pairs are gang of robbers and thieves transferring looting techniques to sons.
    Anwar wife and daughter… by all Malaysians.
    See 12th GE result and learn.
    Chengho is twin brother to Hj Angus.

    totally agree with the first 2 sentences…
    as for the 3rd sentence, please count Dato Onn Jaafar and our Father of Independence out of the robbers’ list…these 2 are the only respectable UMNO (or ex-UMNO) members…

    as for KEADILAN…they do not give good impression to me…lots of opportunists and kangaroos…please buck up if you want to initiate change and gain our trust…do not accept UMNO leftovers…

  27. #27 by siamo on Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 2:36 pm

    All these happenings in MCA and MIC is good in preparation to lose in 2013. In fact, the election will be in 2012 as the ones in power will not wait until March 2013–too risky.

    Let MCA plays out its cronyism with BN, it is a good target for the opposition to attack.

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