Selangor state seat for Tee Keat, nothing at all for Soi Lek and Tsu Koon?
Amid speculation that he will be asked to shift to a state assembly seat, former MCA president Ong Tee Keat has come out shooting. And his target is none other than his successor Chua Soi Lek, perceived to be the stumbling block to his political ambitions
The love lost between the two men is well known. Their relationship is no less than the one between proverbial cat and dog, with a quarrel bound to break out within minutes of them being in the same room.
Tee Keat, currently the Pandan MP, has from day one used Soi Lek's tainted past against him when the latter tried to upstage him and inveigle his way into the favour of the top Umno leaders.
Their most heated exchanges took place during the 2009 to 2010 period, when the feuding became so uncontrolled it plunged the MCA into chaos and special EGMs had to be called to sort out the leadership crisis in the party.
It ended with Tee Keat being bumped out after less than 2 years at the helm of the Malaysian Chinese Association. Not surprising then, that Tee Keat has harsh words for Soi Lek, who is believed to have insisted that Tee Keat be not fielded in the Pandan constituency during the next general election, widely expected to be held in November.
Tossing the ball back into Soi Lek's court, Tee Keat poked deep into his arch enemy's Achilles heel - a sex DVD scandal - and questioned if Soi Lek could still win in any election at all.
“Is he a winnable candidate? I don’t think the Malaysian public can accept him. Of course, he wants to run. He has been saying five divisions want him to contest and many including him will say that personal misconduct or immorality is no excuse to deny him the right to contest," Malaysian Insider reported Tee Keat as saying on Friday.
“But they are not deep-diving into winnability. If he were to contest, it will be an acid test of the values of the electorate."
Would Umno dare to risk wasting a seat on Soi Lek
Indeed, the BN coalition led by Umno is braced for the worst results from the MCA, its second largest component party. In the April Sarawak state polls, former Chinese giant SUPP only managed to cling onto 6 seats out of 19. The voter revolt was so severe that even SUPP's long-time president George Chan was wiped out in the very constituency he had serviced for decades.
The MCA which won 15 parliamentary seats in the 2008 general election is also expected to face a similar mauling. Even Soi Lek is not feeling too optimistic, formulating a plan, which many say is better described as threat to the Chinese community that if they did not vote the MCA, party leaders would turn down government posts leaving the electorate unrepresented and therefore vulnerable to bullying by Umno.
Soi Lek was condemned far and wide for his threat. In addition to his sex scandal, he is now seen as political fraud and many MCA leaders believe that he is even worse than Tee Keat, who despite his temperatmental and quarrelsome nature had at least stood up to corruption.
“MCA members need to ponder on why there are question marks over whether the president himself is going to contest," said Tee Keat. He had played a large role in getting the PKFZ financial debacle exposed, another reason why Umno will not help him to secure Pandan from Soi Lek.
Selangor state seat
If Umno objects to fielding Soi Lek, for fear of another George Chan debacle, then the MCA president will find himself in the same company as Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon.
The BN press have all but turned the hapless Tsu Koon into a clown, a bumbling caricature of timidity and ineptness. The Umno-owned newspapers have insultingly challenged him to name which seat he thought he could stand a chance to win in.
Meeanwhile, despite chewing down Soi Lek, Tee Keat himself is not in much better straits. Already Umno divisions have staked claims on his Pandan seat.
"Pandan is impossible for Tee Keat. Firstly, Soi Lek doesn't want him at all. Then some of the Umno warlords have bargained for it. What we will try to do is to put Tee Keat in a Selangor state seat. if he wins, he will be appointed to the state executive council," an Umno source told Malaysia Chronicle.
So from Cabinet minister to state minister for Tee Keat, if he wins. Not too good it may seem, but still much bearable compared to the zero that is likely to be dealt out to Soi Lek and Tsu Koon.