Gan Ping Sieu mounts challenge for MCA presidency

Ben Tan And Sylvia Looi
Gan said MCA needs a proper roadmap and not just lip service in its bid to reform itself, following a disastrous performance at the polls. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

JOHOR BARU, Aug 28 ― Outgoing MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong may see his ambition to be party president thwarted early, with former vice-president Gan Ping Sieu confirming today his intention to contest for the post.

The Kluang division chief and former deputy minister told Malay Mail he will take a chance on the post as he felt that it was time for the party to heal and grow stronger.

“I have been in the refrigerator for five years and its a long time. I think now is the time for me to bring the much needed changes to the party,” he told Malay Mail, referring to his previous failed bid for the post in 2013.

Gan said MCA needs a proper roadmap and not just lip service in its bid to reform itself, following a disastrous performance at the polls.

He also added that leaders lacking moral authority and persuasion should reflect if they are capable enough to lead the party.

Malay Mail reported previously that some members are expecting former president Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek, 71, to run for presidency and helm the party, just like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comeback for Pakatan Harapan.

Dr Chua was implicated in a sex tape scandal in 2008 but mounted a comeback to become MCA president in 2010; he lost in 2013 to current president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Wee, 49, indicated his willingness on Sunday to contest the post and Perak MCA confirmed yesterday that at least five divisions are behind him.

A Johor MCA source, who is privy to information from the state liaison committee, confirmed that Gan’s name has been floated around members a capable candidate for the post.

“Gan is considered young but has the capability and political experience to change the party.

“He is known to be an outspoken leader and not one who is afraid to go against party lines,” said the source.

Gan had served as a senator and deputy minister of youth and sports between 2010 and 2013 under the embattled Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.

In the May 9 polls, Gan lost the Kluang federal seat against DAP’s Wong Shu Qi by a whopping 23,503-vote majority.

However, the Johor MCA source noted that the 52-year-old United Kingdom-trained lawyer may not be well accepted by the party’s old guard.

“Unlike Wee or even Dr Chua, Gan will definitely appeal to the party’s youth members and has the charisma to attract more younger members into MCA,” said the source.

“However, MCA being a traditional party tend to frown on a party leader that is still single like Gan.

“For the Chinese, having a family is important as this will show that you are responsible and capable enough to lead an organisation,” the source added, referring to Gan’s marital status.

In Perak, a Batu Gajah central delegate also confirmed that besides Wee, Gan’s name has been mentioned for the president post.

But a fellow state MCA member from the Ipoh Timur said his division has yet to decide on who to support for the party's top post.

“Word in the grapevine is there may be four candidates vying for the presidency,” said the member who declined to be named.

Aside from Wee, Gan and Dr Chua, he said there were also talks of Federal Territories MCA chairman Datuk Seri Yew Teong Look joining the fray.

Outgoing president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has said he will not seek re-election. He has been the MCA president since being elected in 2013.

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