Soi Lek moves to unite party ahead of by-election

By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)
BATANG KALI, March 31 — MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek (picture) tonight stressed that he would let bygones be bygones in order to strengthen his party.
In a move that appeared to put him on a higher moral ground, the former health minister showed he was willing to put the past behind him and continue working with members to restore the Chinese community’s confidence in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
“I’ve already said many times I’ll work with anyone if that will strengthen the party,” he replied when asked to comment on the Chinese party’s Wanita chairman, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.
Chew was among Dr Chua’s most vocal critics who had repeatedly questioned his moral character as a leader after the secret that he was keeping a mistress broke over two years ago.
The deputy minister had also vowed to quit her party post if Dr Chua became MCA chief, but had pointedly kept mum after the party elections last Sunday.
Dr Chua admitted he had received many phone calls from the women’s wing’s central committee members about their chief.
“For the stability of Wanita, Chew Mei Fun will have to think carefully.
“I don’t take to heart what was in the past. That is how we succeed,” Dr Chua told reporters after feting the local MCA divisional members here tonight.
The Johorean also pledged to pour in RM50,000 to the Hulu Selangor MCA division to help them with the upcoming parliamentary by-election, in an attempt to cobble together grassroots support for the heavily splintered party.
The Hulu Selangor seat fell vacant following the death of its MP Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad last week.
The Chinese are a miniority race in the constituency but still make up a sizeable 17,000 voters.
The BN leadership has yet to decide the candidate for the seat, which appears to be a toss-up between Umno and MIC, but Dr Chua pledged the MCA’s support to the race.
He also announced that his running mate in the MCA elections who had lost the vote to be deputy president, Datuk Kong Cho Ha, would head the party’s by-election campaign.
Kong, who is also housing and local government minister, was among the party’s central leaders at tonight’s dinner, together with MCA vice-president Datuk Ng Yen Yen and Youth chief, Datuk Wee Ka Siong.