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Six Perak leaders back Chua, rap Ling for destroying MCA


(Updated )

Six Perak MCA leaders today pledged their support for party vice-president Chua Jui Meng and lambasted president Dr Ling Liong Sik for 'destroying' the party and being 'insensitive' to the feelings of the Chinese community.

In a joint statement, the six division leaders also expressed their support for deputy president Lim Ah Lek who with Chua and six others make up the opposing faction of MCA - popularly known as 'Team B'.

The six leaders who pledged their support for Chua are state MCA deputy secretary Dr Yap Yit Thong, Batu Gajah division chief Chan Kam, Kampar division chief Dr Chong Fah, Gopeng division deputy chief Dr Ho Wai Cheong, Kampar division deputy chairmen Liew Choong Sang and Lee Chee Leong.

Chan, Chong, Ho and Lee are also Perak state assemblymen.

"We fully support Chua for whatever political decision he may make and whatever post he may go for in the coming party elections," said the leaders.

Contrary to the "fine leadership" displayed by Chua and Lim, the party president has made MCA "directionless" as well as "destroyed" the party since the last general elections in 1999, they added.

"His (Ling's) inability to handle issues such as vision schools not only shows that he is unable to lead but is also insensitive to the feelings of the Chinese community," they said.

Vigorous contest

The six also claimed that Ling had soured the party's relationship with Chinese guilds and associations following the takeover of two Chinese newspapers by the party this year.

On Monday, The Star quoted a Johor MCA leader as saying that the state fully supports Ling and that Chua should not harp on issues for the sake of getting a bigger position.

Prior to that, the Bakri division in Johor last week passed a resolution unanimously to support Chua if he decides to challenge Ling for the party presidency in next June's elections.

In May, MCA acquired Nanyang Press Holdings, publisher of Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press , through its investment arm Huaren Holdings.

The controversial RM230 million-deal sparked off a volley of protest from the Chinese community who feared that the editorial independence of the said dailies may be compromised.

MCA leaders were also divided on the issue leading to the birth of 'Team B'. Both camps then embarked on nationwide road-shows to garner support.

Following this an extraordinary general meeting was called in June where a wafer-thin majority voted for the takeover.

In August, the MCA Youth annual general meeting turned unruly when delegates in a heated debate sparked off by the Nanyang issue began throwing punches and chairs.

The meet also saw the sacking of two Youth leaders who were known to be Ling loyalists . The duo are Youth vice-chairman Loh Seng Kok and secretary-general Yew Tiong Look. Loh who is also Ling's political secretary.

Renewed bickering

Last month, Ling removed Chua from his Kedah MCA chief post. Chua later claimed that it was a deliberate attempt to "kill him off" politically.

But Ling said it was a decision based on the grassroots sentiments who wanted a native to lead the party at the state level.

However, the president said that Chua had smeared him personally on different occasions.

Recently, an inquiry committee was set up on instructions by Ling to look into the MCA Youth fracas and this renewed the bickering between the two camps.

Lim Ah Lek said it was unprecedented that the disciplinary committee that he heads was sidestepped as the inquiry committee was given authority to submit its findings directly to the presidential council.

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