IPOH, Aug 29 — MCA veterans across the country are hoping to see Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek return as their president once more as the Barisan Nasional (BN) party gears up for the coming internal leadership election.
Incumbent deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong announced his bid for the top post last weekend and former vice-president Gan Ping Sieu has also thrown his hat in the ring, but Dr Chua seems to be in no hurry to confirm if he will join the race.
Contacted by Malay Mail, the 71-year-old said MCA members not only in his Johor home state, but also Selangor and Perak have expressed support if he chooses to contest.
“But I have yet to decide,” he said in a WhatsApp message.
MCA’s Balakong by-election candidate Tan Chee Teong said today that Dr Chua is expected to make a “political comeback” in the remaining 10 days or so of campaigning. Polling is on September 8.
A party insider told Malay Mail that there is still time as nominations for the party polls are only in October.
“In politics, one week is a long time,” said the leader, who is a known staunch supporter of Dr Chua.
He added many MCA divisions in the country wanted the former health minister to return to captain the party.
“Leaders from Kedah, Terengganu, Johor and Selangor had told me they will vote for Tan Sri if he comes back. They are undecided if Tan Sri is not among the candidates,” said the insider who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He claimed Dr Chua’s leadership was badly needed by the party now.
“If Tan Sri makes a comeback, MCA can ensure it will improve on its current one MP in the next general election,” he predicted.
Wee is the Chinese-based party’s sole MP after successfully beating off DAP to keep his Ayer Hitam parliamentary seat in the May 9 general election. Incumbent president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai lost his Bentong federal seat and confirmed he would not seek re-election in the polls.
But the MCA insider was doubtful if Wee has the stamina needed to both lead the party while being its sole representative in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Given his sickness, he may have a tough time balancing both duties,” he said.
A Kinta Valley division leader said he heard that Dr Chua would make a comeback in the coming party polls, but said the grassroots were adopting a wait-and-see approach for all presidential contenders before deciding which man to back.
“But we have yet to decide who to support for the top post. We prefer to wait for all the candidates to be announced. Let them convince us on how they plan to revive the party,” the Perakian told Malay Mail.
His sentiment was also shared by a close confidant of party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
“Yes, there are many grassroots who wanted Dr Chua to return, but I doubt he would make a comeback,” said the party veteran.
Dr Chua, MCA president from 2010 to 2013, won a spot as Batu Pahat MCA central delegate last Sunday, a key requirement for entry into the party’s national leadership contest.
The former Labis MP was hit by controversy after a sex video with a woman in a Johor hotel room was leaked. He admitted to the extramarital affair and resigned from all his government and political positions in January 2008.
*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article had an error which has since been corrected.
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