KUALA LUMPUR – After being stunned by the en bloc resignation of two-thirds of its elected central committee members yesterday, the MCA is set to see its leadership spat suffer a protracted turmoil in a fresh round of party polls.
A central committee (CC) meeting chaired by embattled president Ong Tee Keat here today, decided that the new elections would be held on March 28.
The meeting, attended by 18 CC members, also decided that the party's annual general assembly on Sunday will be held as scheduled.
The meeting decided that the Youth and Wanita wings should also not abort their respective annual general meetings tomorrow and advised them to also have fresh polls to select new leaders since "they have been equally responsible for the state of affairs in the MCA today."
MCA Youth chief Wee Ka Siong and MCA Wanita leader Chew Mei Fun walked out of the meeting in protest against the CC's decisions.
Dealt a massive blow
Ong was dealt a massive blow yesterday when his off-on-off ally and deputy Dr Chua Soi Lek announced his resignation along with seven other elected members.
Chua admitted then that he had not informed Ong earlier of his decision to quit.
A faction led by vice-president Liow Tiong Lai, which has been pushing for fresh polls, delivered to the party headquarters yesterday the quit letters of 13 CC members, taking the total resignations to 21 or two-thirds of the 31 elected CC members.
The party constitution provides for fresh polls to be held once two-thirds of the CC members resign.
MCA, the country's largest Chinese political party, held its last polls in October 2008. Ong was voted in as the new president.
Advice to Youth and Wanita
The CC members gave the mandate to secretary-general Wong Foon Meng to convene the March 28 extraordinary general meeting to elect new officials for the party.
"I will carry out this responsibility in accordance with the party's constitution and ensure the smooth electorall process on that day," he told reporters after the CC meeting.
Regarding the Youth and Wanita polls, he said the matter was raised and discussed at the last CC meeting on Jan 29.
Furthermore, he added, the MCA's legal bureau had also given its opinion on the matter ahead of that meeting.
"It had stated then that it is politically and legally prudent and correct for the Youth and Wanita to hold such elections.
"Article 176 of the party's constitution provides the MCA central committee absolute power over the Youth and Wanita sections and can make orders - from time to time - into their affairs," said Wong, adding, however, that no decision was made at that time.
"Hence, based on the records of the last CC meeting, today's (Friday's) meeting would only advise them.
"It is up to the wings to hold fresh elections as they have been equally responsible for the state of affairs in the MCA today."
Call off meetings
The Youth and Wanita committees had met earlier in the day and decided to call off their respective assemblies, scheduled to be held tomorrow.
Speaking to the media after announcing his resgination, Chua had speculated that the weekend's AGM would be postponed in light of the resignations.
Wee claimed he had met Wong yesterday but the latter was unable to confirm then if Sunday's AGM would go ahead.
"Until this morning, there has been no confirmation. We (the Youth body) discussed and deliberated the issue before deciding to postpone our AGM," he said.
Chew said it was a majority decision to postpone the AGM. — Malaysian Mirror