PETALING JAYA: Business tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew has cleared the air. He will not be contesting in the coming MCA polls this Saturday as speculated by many.
Instead, he announced through advertisements in the mainstream Chinese newspapers yesterday, he would only contest for the party’s top post once the direct election system is put in place over the next three years.
Lee stated in the ads that he would carry out his duties as Parit Sulong division central delegate brilliantly and responsibly in the Dec 21 polls and contribute accordingly to the party’s vision and mission.
“I hope to join the party election when the direct election system is implemented in three years’ time. Hopefully, in the 14th general election, the direct election would help MCA gain back its support and go back to its vision and mission,” said Lee.
The advertisements ended speculation that he would contest for the post of party president in the upcoming election.
Lee also said the polls are crucial for the survival of MCA, and urged the central delegates to vote according to two standards — contestants who support the direct election system and contestants who are elected people’s representatives.
Lee said direct election is the only way to save MCA, uproot money politics and weed out low quality leaders, especially the No 1 and 2.
“Central delegates should respect members of parliament (MP) elected by the people, especially the party president and deputy president. MCA can no longer be a party whose president cannot and dare not face the voters,” he added.
The seven MPs and 11 state assemblymen elected in the May 5 general election (GE13) should be respected by the central delegates, Lee said, adding that those who lost should not contest.
In other words, the advertisements could be seen as an endorsement of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Wee Ka Siong, who are contesting for the post of president and deputy president respectively. This is because they are the only leaders who fit Lee’s standard.
The other contestants for post of party president are former president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Gan Ping Sieu, who were not fielded as candidates in GE13, while the other deputy president candidate is Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai, who lost in the election.
Lee also urged the central delegates to vote according to their conscience, in contrast to the advice given by outgoing president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek. Chua had said that the delegates should “take the money” but not necessarily give their votes to the person who gave it.
But Lee said delegates should not give or take any money in order to win. “I call upon the delegates to unite and vote according to your conscience, so that this election will be a battle between ‘faction’ and ‘direct election’.
“In other words, a battle between ‘money’ and ‘dignity’, ‘interest’ and ‘ideal’. Vote for candidates who support direct election,” Lee said in the advertisements.
Liow had promised to implement the direct election system if he wins.
Lee also pointed out that he has close ties with MCA’s former leadership and had witnessed the struggle and party infighting.
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 16, 2013.