Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Nut Graph: Pakatan Rakyat courts Chua Soi Lek

By Deborah Loh

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.

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.

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

(pics & text courtesy from the nut


PutraMerang said...

Dr. Chua. A wiseman like you should work for rakyat, not for Umno goons. MCA is doing exactly that, working for Umno. They cheated the Malays and so do they cheated all others. And you know very well that One Malaysia cannot be build on the platform of race based party. I have been with Pas for many years now. You know how sweet it is to win for rakyat? If you don't know, join Pakatan Rakyat. All we do is for rakyat, not the elitis who samun all that they can, in the name of their race.

Voices Of Taiping said...

No money from them, don't join la, bn can provide you safety and wealth, more secured life, just diam diam ok?

LBP said...


I will be the first one to congratulate you if you've decided to leave MCA!! - as a matter fact, you have been brutally deprived of the right of holding any meaningful role in MCA/BN NOW!!And for obvious reasons, OTK and gang will not hesitate to bury your political career forever - coz they are just so fearful of your fighting spirit, grassroots support, and capabilities...

All men in the streets know that you are a man of high calibre, outspoken and down to earth, and was once a capable Health Minister...and for God sake, you are a righful elected Deputy President of MCA, ok! - what on earth do you need to take all the humiliations and suppressions from the classic hypocrite - OTK and gang!

OTK and his cronies have treated MCA like their grand father's property - you have been tortured, sidelined and made "impotent" (politically of course..)..they purposely slapped you on the face when come to allocation of positions..even apple polishers and incapable fella can be deputy minister, senator, and state liaison committtee chairman etc etc...BUT OTK conveniently left you out from ALL the key positons....

COME ON Dr. Chua, you are a fighter, tell them out loud that you want to hold a key role, NOW!! in order to serve the Rakyat (better still if you can assume the post of Health are at least 10 times better than the current idiot whose performance is far from satisfactory level ..)...

If they can't do that...LEAVE MCA/BN IMMEDIATELY!! You have been tolerant enough to put up with all the unfairness and nonsense within the party, and you have shown enough loyalty to MCA/BN!!

Doc, probably it's time to say bye bye to MCA/BN - Am sure Pakatan Rakyat will provide you with a suitable platform to revitalise your political career and more importantly, serve the RAKYAT...

Anonymous said...

You are a real party man dtk.Sometimes its better to leave and serve when we are needed mosts. Im similar as it seems the Chua's are all in the smae predicament. We fought a bitter infighting in Parti rakyat sarawak. We losts as circumstances has it that BN cannot afford to lose James Masing to Pakatan. Larry Sng and his 19 divisions sought a way out. 15 divisions joined PKR while us Batu Lintang,Satok,and Miri stayed firm. But we think for what? We are partyman and we even come out openly to say that we remain true to BN eventhough we were courted by PKR.
Crossroads ??? What do you think we should do Dtk?? Please advice. I can be reached through my blog

bantiek said...

There are 2 options. The first is to leave the party. 留 的 青 山 在, 不 怕 没 柴 烧 and you are highly wanted by Pakatan Rakyat. The other option is to remain in the rotten MCA until the next party election in 2011 and go all out to topple the rotten president. Being a delegate, I suggest you go for the latter.

resident.wangsamaju said...

Time is not on your side. Leave MCA. It is a dead end- MCA is nothing more than a self-conspiring party who makes its own members sacrificial lambs for the sake of a selfish few. Look what it did to your political career.

Steve Yeoh said...

it's obvious that MCA is a sinking ship. OTK is all talks and no action. he used to be very outspoken in the past and that served the people's interests. but now... he only has UMNO/BN's political interests in mind. this kind of leader does not have a core set of principles as his guidance. how can he save MCA in these trying times? jump the ship now before it sinks and stinks. i'm sure you'll shine brighter in Pakatan.

sinnersaint:saintsinner said...

Mr Chua

If your sole purpose is to SERVE the people without ethnic divide and CHANGE is your new found goal, than one would expect you to MOVE ON....

Those who uphold "gutter" and race politics will fail in the next election.... its naive to think that Malaysians by and large still want "the old style" of politics.

It will be good for man of yr stature to join - if the rumours are true.


Apple said...

Dr. Chua, which ever party you join, your comrades and the people around you must be careful not to use your name too much to gain benefits and profits in business deals for instance when you were the health minister those days. These people used your name and money to reap benefits for themselves and do all sorts of unhealthy activities. You know who are they.

VM said...

Doc - you should come out and serve the Rakyat - JUMP OFF the Sampan (MCA) before it "koyak"..under OTK, MCA has lost its dignity and it will be wiped out in the coming GE...

When BN lost in Bkt Gantang, and approx 80% Chinese voters denied BN/MCA, OTK was still in a full denial mode (there is an old Chinese saying : "one won't cry until he sees the coffin" - like to share this idiom with MCA!!!)

When UMNO fella like Muhiddyin showed their barbarism by blaming the Chinese for not knowing how to "membalas budi" and caused BN's defeat in the Bukits, OTK jumped out and "die die" defending for Muhiddyin, to show his loyalty to UMNO. When BN robbed the legitimate Perak state government, he kept extremely quiet! What sort of MCA leader is that? - since he became MCA President, OTK and his cronies have done nothing great for the Chinese community in particular, and Malaysian in general..the only achievement is nothing more than suppressing Dr.Chua and his supporters....his report card is full of red marks...FAILED MISERABLY...

He has promised to get down to the bottom of the big scandal of PKFZ (Port Klang Free Zone) more than a year ago, and it remains a big BN/MCA mystery....that caused the Rakyat billions...

NEIL said...

Such a well educated man MUST not be laid to waste.Dr,I admire what you said that you don't polish apples.Me too,I never know how to please people and that is what I will always do.
Ok,my take is this,if you still hesitate to jump then take your time but make sure when you jump ,you must jump with a bang.You must inflict maximum damage to umno/BN.
Hurt them when they most scare.

马华KJ said...

have call extra agm immediately to solve the party problem. If not, they will work hard to reduce your support power from gross.

Rose said...

Dear Dr. Chua,

Agree with you that you should jump ship when you have no meaningful role to play.

You are the legitimately elected as no.2 man in MCA.

As no.2 man in the party, are you able to play meaningful role to play when you are not given "proper" position in the party?

I do not remember any previous no.2 man in MCA not holding more significant positions in the party than yours.

That's obvious, isn't it?

Funniman1965 said...


Ther's a limit to patience. I remembered you had played your cards well and kept low. If you have kept your part of the bargain and the other side couldn't be bothered, then it is like flying a kite. You keep it as long as you can. But once the line is cut, let it go.

Pearls said...

Wahhhh!! Diam Diam Ubi..... Wahaha.. Well, crossing over is better than staying, sticking around and be humiliated, denied the opportunity to shine! So... what are you waiting for?

Nope.. I dont think Ong Tee Keat is gonna miss or pine for you when you have crossed over. It was a bad "affair" to start with.. you and Ong la!! So, come on man! Do what a man gotta do!! Strut you stuff and be a man.. CROSS THE DAMN BOARDER AND SERVE US, the people!!

bantiek said...

Our PM has said Dr.Chua is still loyal to BN and has ruled out the possibility of defecting the Opposition. How come our OTK remains silent ? Come on, OTK, speak up your mind !

Cindy said...

It is sad to see when a heavyweight leader like Dr Chua is in dilemma, none of the leader in MCA show support to him. From his last DVD episode, attack by extremist on ketuanan Melayu's incident, being severely sidelined in the party etc....None of the top leader seemed to appreciate him. What kind of cold blood comarades you have Dr? Everyone just enjoy looking how you are being crucified by opposition and others.

MCA will be swept away in the next GE. Start with the 7 votes in my house, we will decline those MCA cowards including all brainless MCA minister.

Vastu Raman said...

Dr.Chua, I really admired Ong Tee Keat more than you but that was those days when he stand against Ling Liong Sik but not now any more.

Today I see you as a real leader who dare to go against the wave, corridor of power. I admire you more than others in bn.

It's a very clear cut, ulamaks in umno are doing their best to block you eventhough they carry more dirts in their back pack. Unfortunately Tee Keat has join the stooges camp formed by umno.

I believe time has come for you to make a decision now. I would suggest;

i. Call for EGM, present your case and let the delagate who voted for you to make a decision;

ii. If you decide to quit from mca then I believe you shall join the NGO's say as ALIRAN. Be a strong voice and you can be a powerfull voice for Malaysian.

If Indians have Uthaya Kumar and fellow 5 Hindraf brothers, your voice shall be for all the Malaysian and I believe you will win the people's heart.

Frankly speaking, you must push for EGM...........

Anonymous said...

Dr Chua..
In case you do not know, I am your secret admirer. And I do hope you will keep supporting Barisan Nasional..not for the sake of UMNO or others but for the nation. I know, people will keep saying that MCA is working for UMNO, but who knew better? You or them. I am a malay, and admitted that you are the best person to hold the president post...from a very beginning I wanted you to be the president not OTK. The reason why I choose you because I've faith in you, so the folks.

Ting said...

Ong Tee Keat is a good talker.
Ong Tee Keat is a loud speaker.
But, Ong Tee Keat is not a wise, creative thinker.
So, let the public judge his words.

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Dr Chua,

I am sure the majority of MCA members and rakyat are behind you. It is just the MCA leaders who are really scared of you.

I have no proof but the general perception is that Ong Tee Kiat and his gang have more skeletons in their closets. BN-UMNO is even dirtier. M2T is living proof and our own PM is also not sparred.

We all know that MCA is a listing heavily to one side and is only temporary propped up by UMNO. It will go under come GE13, of which I have no doubt at all. 90% of my family and extended ones will NOT vote BN or MCA candidates.

OTK has turned out to be a man with a very small heart but inflated ego. He does not have it in him to be a natural leader. He has lost 2 opportunities to solidify the party and close ranks but he FAILED. It is his prerogative but he did not walk the talk of closing ranks.

You were a good minister and has delivered. People like you should not be in MCA anymore because they are scared of you. Your honesty and integrity is way above what they can ever achieved.

So, I suggest you & your son should quit and join other groups that are more deserving of your experience and vision. You have given MCA and BN more than their fair share of good governance. You have to stop casting pearls to swine or give flowers to monkeys.

So quit and join NGOs, DAP, PKR or whatever that you deem fit. Just stay away from MCA & GERAKAN.

Good luck.

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Go Chua GO,

Go for EGM
Go for by election, ask your son to quit
Go for President next MCA election
Go join anything but BN

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Chua,
You have to be very strong if you continue to stay with a group of politicians who do not give you any support and who are out to crush your political career. People who support you wholeheartedly do not have much power and influence to see that you can do a good job. If you stay with MCA, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel eventually. If you leave, your chances will be much less. It is a matter of trust. Or you can leave everything altogether. But you will not feel like you have done something.

MCA clan said...

Dear Dr. Chua,

You must be very brave to work against all odds, that's why you are appointed here in the first place.
We do not want to see a leader crumple under pressure. I'm only the second commentator here to suggest not to jump to the opposition. The other side has very capable leaders but we need the same clan to do good for this family. Stay focus. Remember what our MCA founders stood for. To uphold the 'family's/ MCA name ', you have to work within the party.
You still have a platform to work on. Aust. PM Kevin Rudd has high respect for the opposition cos he knows they are all working for the betterment of the people.

Robert Teh said...

Soi Lek,

Most people in politics say it is all about party loyalty, but I believe, serving the people is far more important. All politicians should work for the benefit and general well-being of the common people, rather than for themselves or their parties.

When the time comes that you are unable to serve the people, the country, effectively, it's about time you move on. Forget the party loyalty bullshit! The party you joined years ago is no longer the same party today - MCA had lost its direction along the way; the party no longer serves the benefit of the common people. So has the ruling BN Govt., it seems.

There is growing support for change in Govt. because the common people felt 'cheated' by the BN Govt. (which they had supported all these years). The many 'unfair' policies of past BN Govts., abuse of power, and un-relenting corruption within the Govt. that had been left unchecked, have made the common people become disillusioned with the BN Govt., even though the recent and new administration have attempted to make some good changes.

A party as old as BN has become 'stale' over the years and it's a great challenge to arrest the growing cynism of the people. They (the people) are crying for change not because the Pakatan alternative is 'better' (only time will tell if they are better) but the people seem willing to give the Pakatan a chance to prove themselves.

In this new day and age, the common people wield 'great power' when it comes to deciding which party will govern the country. Whichever party which chooses to ignore this reality, will risk being cast aside into the 'longkang' of time! Long years of track record no longer mean much or any attempt by any party to 'cheat' or fool the people will not last.

The 'Awakening' of the people is real and now! The BN govt. must have the political will to make drastic changes to better serve the people or be prepared to surrender the seat of power to the Pakatan alternative comes the next General Elections.

As for you, Doc, best wishes for whichever road you chose to take - for better or for worse!

James said...

Dr Chua,

u r the only MCA leader i pay my respects, for your leadership and your conscience as compared to MCA leaders (which kind of UMNO lapdogs).

Please for the sake of people, yourself and your son, leave MCA and help PR to win Johor in the next coming election.

I can assure you, your name would be in our history syllabus.

Thanks and GOD bless.

selangor guy said...

Dr.Chua, i think that you should consider to pull out from MCA and to join in PR since you are always be treated coldly in your party nowaday. May be try to change a politic platform to keep on your political struggle is better than you stay calm in your party or component now.

bslim said...

Only you can tahan all these show of no respect, sidelined, humiliation, bully by OTK. Come on you are the elected deputy president, don't just sit there quietly and let him do all this to you.
This ARROGANT OTK not only do not respect you, he does not respect the office of the deputy president. He is behaving like there is no dep. president in MCA.

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