Ka Ting to contest MCA presidency

padang ekspres net-KUALA LUMPUR: Former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting announced today that he would contest the MCA presidency against incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in the party's fresh polls on March 28.

Confirming speculations that he would make a comeback, Ong said he received many calls from party delegates, veterans and members across the country who communicated to him through various media asking him to return and run for the presidency.

"To all these members who care and love the party, I say I hear you, loud and clear.

"I would therefore, like to announce my candidacy for the MCA presidency in the coming party elections," he said in a statement issued here today.

Explaining his decision, Ong said as the immediate past president, it was no secret that the current state of affairs in the party had deeply saddened him because when he announced on June 28, 2008 that he would not seek a re-election of the presidency, he thought he would leave the party in safe and united hands.

"To my great dismay, this not only turned out to be otherwise, but also, the good values of healthy political culture, good governance and collective leadership, practised and advocated by my team during my presidency, have become almost entirely a thing of the past as soon as I retired," he said.

Ong, who is former Housing and Local Government Minister said when he took over the party's leadership in May 2003 during a tumultuous period of internal strife, one of his immediate tasks was to amend the party constitution to limit the president's term to only three years.

Similarly, he said his team had also formulated strict financial management system including budgetary framework in which the party's assets were managed.

"Most of all, the party was made debt free after having fully settled our debts during my presidency.

"Sadly, in the last one year or so, after putting our constitution to a severe test, it has revealed various weaknesses in the light of excessive presidential powers and the abrogation of the general assembly as the supreme body of our party," he said.

Therefore, Ong said there was an urgent need for these weaknesses to be quickly addressed and rectified.

In the statement, he also said that the current serious factional in-fighting among party leaders had not only brought shame to the party, but also many Malaysians particularly the Chinese community who are the supporters of the party.

He said during the period of in-fighting, precious time had been lost which could have been better spent to rebuild and regain the trust of Malaysians for the party after a dismal performance in the last general election.

"If this in-fighting continues, MCA will indeed in no time become totally irrelevant, leading to its ultimate demise," Ong said.

By contesting in the party's fresh polls on March 28, Ong also created a political history as it would be the first time that a former party president has come out from retirement to contest the top party post. - Bernama


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