PETALING JAYA, 30 April 2009: MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has publicly admitted for the first time that he is being courted by Pakatan Rakyat parties.
He has been turning the idea of defecting over and over in his mind ever since it was proposed following the sex video scandal that resulted in his resignation from all party and government posts in January 2008.
Blogs have been speculating about the possibility of Chua leaving the MCA and Barisan Nasional (BN), but the former health minister has yet to make up his mind. He has, however, no qualms speaking openly about it.
"There are approaches made to me to jump ship. I should not deny it, because sooner or later this thing will come out in the open," he told The Nut Graph in an exclusive interview yesterday.
He said he has also received suggestions that his son, Labis Member of Parliament (MP) Chua Tee Yong, should quit the party as well.
"[Leaving the party was one of the] many options being tossed around. That's true. A lot of people have seen me quietly. A lot of people also want me to persuade my son to resign as an MP, thereby forcing a by-election.
"And since Johor has always been regarded as the fortress of the BN, that would be a good testing ground," he said.
Chua said he has not yet considered which party he would join if he left the MCA. He declined to reveal which parties had approached him.
"The options are very limited," he noted.
Despite the sex video scandal, Chua is more tenacious than his opponents may have bargained for. He has definitely not faded into political oblivion. Indeed, he was returned uncontested as the MCA Batu Pahat division chief in the divisional polls last July.
Ong Tee Keat In the October party polls, his popularity was again proven when he beat then secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan in the deputy president's contest. Despite his political comeback within the MCA, the offers for him to join another party have continued as the rift between him and president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat remains open.
Despite Ong's denials that he was isolating Chua, the deputy president now feels his role in the MCA is diminished. Chua said his position as head of the bureau required him to be critical, but his comments were not accepted.
"I'm willing to resign [from the bureau]. My character is such that if I cannot function in a role that I'm given, I'm willing, and I'm seriously considering resigning," he said.
Noncommittal about when he would decide to leave the MCA, Chua said the recent spate of by-elections has kept him with the party because of his loyalties to the BN.
"This is the party where I've spent over 20 years. As a party man, when it's time to contribute to the party, I should do it. During the recent by-elections, I played a role. It's not good for me to jump ship just like that; people will say you are just an opportunist."
But the writing appears to be on the wall, and Chua admitted that he is at a crossroads.
"I don't jump ship because I'm disgruntled and unhappy. I don't think I will do that. I will jump ship only when I find I have no meaningful role to play," he said.
TNG: Tell us about your role as head of your party's government policy-monitoring bureau.
Chua: You can say my role is very limited despite being the second man in the second largest component party. Limited in the sense that I do not hold any government post.
As for being chairman of the monitoring bureau, I used to be very active the first three months. After that I found that by being critical of other people, somehow or other people don't take kindly to me. They think I have a very personal agenda. So I thought, if society is like that, they don't want others to be critical, then I come to accept the fact that I should be more toned down.
So, how is the bureau functioning now?
I must admit that it's not been functioning in the last four months.
keluar-keluar....ajak rmai lgi keluar...anda sudah insaf dr.chua.....