By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek ticked off its political arch-rival the DAP today, saying it was his predecessor’s wish that the MCA remained in the Cabinet despite suffering a “setback” in the 2008 general election.
“As regards to the decision of the MCA to take up government posts after the 2008 general election despite the setback suffered by the MCA, I wish to reiterate that it was not my call.
“I was then not the party president,” Dr Chua said in a statement today.
“I cannot comment on a decision that has been decided by my predecessor (Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat),” he stressed.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s senior Chinese partner has been under attack since Dr Chua called on its Sarawak partner, SUPP, to refuse all state Cabinet posts after its dismal showing in the just-ended Sarawak polls.
While the SUPP kept silent on the issue, the opposition DAP decided to jump into the debate and told the MCA to look at itself first before disparaging its own ally.
“I think Chua Soi Lek has to look at MCA first because making such comment. MCA lost so big in 308 tsunami,” Sarawak DAP lawmaker Chong Chieng Jen said to The Malaysian Insider about the MCA president.
The former health minister also said he was not in a position to comment on Perak MCA member Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon who is a state executive councillor.
He insisted that the MCA had always followed the wishes of the country’s ethnic Chinese community.
“Should the MCA suffer the same fate, as in the 2008 polls, in the next general election, the MCA central committee will then have to deliberate on its position in the federal and state government,” Dr Chua said.
At present, there are only four MCA members out of a total 30 ministers in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet.
They are Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (Health Minister), Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (Transport Minister), Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung (Housing and Local Government Minister) and Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen (Tourism Minister).
Turning around, Dr Chua questioned the DAP over its concern for SUPP and suggested that the mainly Chinese party was now feeling guilty that Sarawak Chinese will no longer have a Chinese voice to speak up for them in the state assembly.
“Is it feeling guilty and responsible for the possible exclusion of Chinese representation in the Sarawak state government which will have great consequences?” he asked.
But he repeated his stand that the SUPP had lost the support from the local Chinese in the hornbill state and had no right to insist on a stake in the state assembly.
“It is clear that the SUPP Chinese candidates did not receive the support of the Chinese community and thus cannot claim legitimacy.
“My statement was made with sincerity as a leader of a Barisan Nasional component party,” he said, denying it was a racist statement.