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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Compendium of Little-known Facts about the MCA EGM

The following write-up was e-mailed to me by Joe Fernandez (of Malaysiakini) whose courtesy has been obtained for publication.

A Compendium of Little-known Facts about the MCA EGM

Fact 1 - The majority for OTK's no-confidence vote in perspective

Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak is the most powerful man in Malaysia. But back in the 1999 general election, he barely survived an onslaught in his home turf, Pekan. The scion of the country's second PM, who inherited the seat which houses the Pahang royal household, scrapped through with a bare 241 votes out of almost 36,000 votes cast.

During his time, he was more powerful than Najib would ever be, but Tun Dr Mahathir has had his share of scares too. In the 1987 Umno fallout, the Father of Modern Malaysia was almost toppled by Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Dr M won the cliffhanger Umno election by 43 votes, out of about 1,500 votes cast - a majority just enough to fill an express bus.

Ong Tee Keat lost the 10/10 MCA EGM by 14 votes, out of 2,300-odd delegates who voted. In percentage terms, that's much lower than Najib's majority in Pekan in 1999. Sure, OTK lost unlike Najib and TDM. So what? All three faced a bloody revolt. It's just a matter of whether the cup was slightly over half-empty or slightly over half-full.

Fact 2 - Delegates to the political parties' general assemblies DO NOT represent the voice of the people

Want proof? OTK won only 49 per cent support. But in a recent survey by Merdeka Centre. OTK is way ahead in popularity among the public and is the only MCA leader who garnered a double-digit score. Let's face it, delegates are easily influenced by monetary and other percuniary considerations. And Chua Soi Lek was throwing them like Father Christmas. RM300,000 was given to a Kedah divisional chairman on the eve of EGM. It's a myth that delegates' voice is supreme.

If it were, Samy Vellu would have been kicked out a zillion years ago. And Ali Rustam would have won the Umno deputy president's post in March had the party's disciplinary board not nailed him on (trumped-up?) corruption charges. Of course PM Najib understood that delegates can be swayed. Why else did he officiated at the Makkal Sakthi party on October 10, one week shy of the Festival of Lights? It was a slap in the face on MIC delegates who chose to return Uncle Samy as the MIC president.

Fact 3 - The MCA EGM deviated from its original objective

The EGM was to settle the dispute between OTK and CSL. Just as George W. Bush called on fellow Americans to choose between him or the evil terrorists during the 2002 state-of-the-union address following the September 11 attacks, the MCA EGM was to be a battlefront to choose between OTK OR CSL - no one else is in the equation.

But a group of opportunists saw a window of opportunity to unseat both so that they could use the backdoor for fast-track promotions - the presidency, the deputy presidency and the post of Minister of Transport. The so-called Third Force hijacked the EGM for their selfish interests.

Fact 4 - OTK's so-called supporters played him out

Headcount by OTK's inner-circle prior to the EGM was assuring. The Transport Minister would have gotten around 1,398 votes - a slight dip from the 1,429 votes he garnered during the 2008 MCA election. But still a comfortable lead, given the extenuating circumstances like the money-throwing spree CSL had embarked upon.

But some 200-300 votes slipped. No surprises there, if one understand the number of people who wants to sabotage him. MCA Ministers Liow Tiong Lai and Kong Cho Har want to be the president, or at worse, deputy. Wee Ka Siong wants to be Transport Minister. So does Chor Chee Heung, but he knows he doesn't stand a ghost of a chance. Yoo Wei How, who OTK appointed the MCA National Organising Secretary, wants to become the MCA Youth chief when Wee Ka Siong is elevated.

Fact 5 - Post-EGM, MCA equals Malaysian Chaos Association

Can one imagine children of a dying rich man fighting over his inheritance while he himself is on the deathbed? That's what's happening to MCA now. OTK has yet to officially quit but the horse-trading has begun in earnest. One day after the EGM, as OTK nurse his battle scars overseas, vegetarian Liow Tiong Lai called for a clandestine dinner in the JW Marriot Hotel in Jln Bukit Bintang, KL.

Kong Cho Har gladly went, thinking that LTL was going to pay homage to him as the incoming president. But when LTL proposed himself as numero uno, KCH, the taiko whom everyone in Lumut is fearful of, turned into a beast. Harsh words were exchanged and the table thumped, much to the shock of those present, including Chew Mei Fun, Loke Yuen Yeow and Liew Yuen Keong. Poor Liew Yuen Keong, who became jobless after losing the Seri Kembangan State seat in 2008, had to foot the bill as both Ministers left in a huff.

Ng Yen Yen, who spends more time overseas than Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, suddenly also found herself loving the Malaysian weather - she too was horse-trading. She has offered to be the first female MCA president, but no way in hell are LTL and KCH who has backed OTK all the way going to let that pro-CSL woman get her way. MCA is headed for troubling and chaotic time.

Fact 6 - PKFZ - NFA (No Further Action)

PKFZ is the main reason why the Third Force was willing to inflict more damage to MCA than to solve the OTK-CSL impasse and move the party forward. Let's joint the dots.... Everyone knows Tiong King Sing hates OTK for what the latter has done to uncover the RM12 billion mess in PKFZ. If OTK is gone, one big hurdle is gone for TKS. Why else would a SPDP politiiian among the first to call for OTK's resignation after the EGM?

Now that OTK is gone, Wee Ka Siong is almost assured of becoming the Transport Minister. And everyone in MCA knows that WKS and TKS are business partners and together they have raked in millions. WKS also has a long-term use of a room in the Berjaya Times Square Hotel, courtesy of TKS. Why else did the MCA Youth chief keep his silence when his boss OTK was at the forefront fighting Tiong? Shouldn't the Youth wing be on the frontline in an issue that resonates with Malaysians of all races?

So, with WKS in the Ministry of Transport, PKFZ is kautim insofar as Tiong is concerned. WKS would toe the line, and to be doubly sure, his predecessor in the MCA Youth section, Liow Tiong Lai would keep an eye as (hopefully) MCA president. Liow after all, is the protege of Chan Kong Choy, and share the same sifu Lim Ah Lek, the only good man, if ever there was one, in MCA. Liow is Bentong MP and listens to Bentong Boy CKC like Catholics listen to the Pope.

And CKC? Oh yeah, the man who quit it all in 2008 because of PKFZ can sleep tight now...

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