Soi Lek: MCA not ready for snap polls

Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — The MCA, the second largest Barisan Nasional (BN) component party, is not ready to face a snap general election, at least for the next three months, party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today.
He said the MCA had yet to recover fully after a bruising 1½ years of internal crisis, adding that he needed at least six months to one year to stabilise the party.
In an interview, Dr Chua said the party needed to ensure that there was “unity in purpose”, particularly in terms of achieving “our common political agenda”.
“In politics, I have learnt to accept the fact that nothing is impossible (on a possible snap election soon) but, if you ask me, I feel it is unlikely,” he said when asked to comment on speculation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak may call an early general election.
Before facing the 13th general election, which is due in 2013, Dr Chua said the BN should first make some changes to the current concept of power-sharing in order to suit the times.
Dr Chua, who took over the party’s helm this year, said it was not correct to say that the BN had not made changes, adding that the changes had been perceived as minor and more improvement was necessary.
Asked if the BN would make enough changes in time for the next general election, Dr Chua pointed out that he sincerely believed that Najib had the political will to make the changes.
Asked if the government should accommodate all the wishes of the party and the Chinese community in order to win back the community’s support, Dr Chua answered “yes” and “no”.
He pointed out that the political situation in Malaysia was complex, saying that it would be politically naive to think that the opposition pact would fulfil all the expectations and needs of the Chinese community if it came to power.
“A government in power needs to balance the needs of all the races. The BN government should be seen to be fair and democratic. Decisions made should be more transparent and which the people can accept,” he said.
He said the government should not only say the right things but also do the right things and only by doing so would it be able to win the support of the multiracial society in the country.
On the party election next year, he said it would proceed unless the party’s powerful decision-making body decided against it.
The MCA usually holds its party election once every three years — from the branches, divisions and up to the central leadership. After the party polls in 2008, the next one was supposed to have been held in 2011 but was held earlier, in March this year, due to the prolonged party internal crisis.
“It (party polls) should proceed next year because we don’t know when the general election is … unless the CC (central committee) is against it (the party polls),” he said.
On whether the party would introduce direct presidential election such as being planned by Umno, Dr Chua said most of the members were not in favour of making changes due to time constraints.
“If you make changes to the party election system, you need at least eight to 10 months as you need to call an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) and later submit the changes for approval by the ROS (Registrar of Societies).
“Some also feel that we should not be diverted to discuss a new party election system but should first focus instead on the next general election,” he said. — Bernama