By Shannon Teoh/ The Malaysian Insider.com
(PETALING JAYA, May 19) Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek insisted today that his loyalty to the Barisan Nasional (BN) should not be questioned, denying the ruling coalition's move to make him coordinate political activities opposition-held states was to cement his loyalty.
“I am a loyal party man and have been serving for 25 years. Leaving is not an easy thing to do,” the MCA deputy president said, when asked if the appointment would make him stick to the BN.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is BN chairman, announced Dr Chua’s appointment yesterday to coordinate the four Pakatan Rakyat-ruled (PR) states.
The maverick former health minister has been at loggerheads with his president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat since being elected in last October’s party polls and had recently revealed that he has been courted by PR to cross over the political divide.
He has also been the most senior BN leader to support fresh elections in Perak to solve the political impasse in the state despite Umno’s reluctance to dissolve the assembly.
That call led to a face-to-face meeting with PAS vice president Datuk Husam Musa yesterday to discuss possible solutions to the stalemate, which resulted in Dr Chua affirming that whoever was confirmed as the rightful government would still have to call for fresh elections to ensure a proper mandate.
A senior BN component leader told The Malaysian Insider however, that Najib had wanted to smooth over continuing tensions in MCA between its top two leaders by giving Dr Chua a significant role in the coalition after he had been omitted from the Cabinet.
Dr Chua told reporters the appointment was the result of a series of meetings with Najib.
However, Ong had yesterday claimed that he had brokered the post with Najib to give MCA a greater role in the coalition.
“I met with Najib twice in four-eye meetings to discuss this. Whatever other meetings might have been held, I do not know about it,” he said, adding that he would keep the prime minister as well as Ong posted on his progress.
He explained that he was tasked to look into the cooperation between BN components with a special focus on states that PR had won in the last general elections, including Perak.
He would also be giving more attention to Negri Sembilan and Johor but denied that this was because BN was slipping in these two states.
“This is in line with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept. We are facing a confident PR. What is the point if only your party is strong but BN still loses in an election?” he added.
Chua to mobilise BN resources at grassroots
by Giam Say Khoon/ The Sun Daily
PETALING JAYA (May 19, 2009) : MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today his new role as Barisan Nasional chief coordinator is to mobilise the resources of all BN component parties at the grassroot level so that they operate as one unified team.
He said his task covers the four states governed by the Pakatan Rakyat -- Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor -- and Perak, Negri Sembilan and Johor.
Asked why only these states, he said he could not handle all."
We want to ensure the relationship among the BN component parties is always close and nice so that they will be able to move as a team, by first setting up BN service centres. If we want to achieve the goal of the prime minister of having 1Malaysia, we must move as a team regardless of whether you are coming from Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan," he said.
Chua said it will not be easy for the component parties to operate in such a way as many may not understand, be unhappy with or dislike such a concept but for a longer term objective, he is confident all BN members who love the coalition will support it."
We are facing a confident Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that strongly believes that it will take over the government in the next general election. We have to be ready now with our experience, members and machinery that have been tested for so many times.
"I can bring all (related) issues (directly) to the prime minister but since I come from MCA, I will also inform the party president," he said.
Asked if he will have problems getting cooperation from all component parties since he does not hold any government post, Chua said those with government post must be more sensitive and keen to work with him as they are the ones who are going to face elections and the people.
Asked whether his appointment was a way to prevent him from crossing over to the opposition, Chua said such talk has been going on since last year and it was not true.
When asked whose idea it was to create the post, he said he met the prime minister three times on this matter, and in the third time, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were also present.
On the statement made by Ong on Monday that he actually met Najib twice on the post, Chua said he was not aware that Ong had talked to Najib on his appointment."
He (Ong) had not told me about that. He might have met Najib over the matter but I don't know," he said.
On the meeting between him and PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa on the Perak impasse on Monday, Chua said the meeting was in his own personal capacity and that the BN and PR should also sit down and talk for the sake of the people in Perak.
Earlier, Ong told the reporters the outcome of Chua's meeting with Husam was not binding on the party.
He said Chua told him briefly about the meeting which touched on the political impasse in Perak, but clarified that the party had never mada a secision on such a meeting.
On whether MCA agreed with Chua's stand that the best way to settle the Perak impasse is to dissolve the state assembly, Ong pointed out that the Perak case had been referred to court and even "if you talk about the dissolution of the state assembly, we need the menteri besar to call for it."