MCA says ‘no’ to Hee defending Jelapang seat

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KUALA LUMPUR: MCA will not be laying out the welcome mat for controversial Jelapang assemblyman Datuk Hee Yit Foong, who has expressed her intention to defend her Perak state seat on a BN ticket in the upcoming general election.
In a press statement, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek stressed that the party had not contemplated allowing an “outsider” to contest the Jelapang seat on an MCA ticket.
The party has also not discussed the possibility of MCA “handing over the Jelapang state seat” with Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said Chua.
Chua’s remarks came after Hee recently told a Chinese daily that she will defend her Jelapang seat “under the BN flag” and that she would let Najib announce the details of her candidacy.
In the interview published on Tuesday, Hee claimed that MCA would likely not field its own candidate for the Jelapang seat although she conceded that this arrangement could change at the eleventh hour.
Chua said that it was never the norm for BN to openly talk about seat allocation and the list of candidates as the BN is a collective decision-making coalition.
“While Hee can announce that she is the candidate for Jelapang in the coming general election, without the support from the MCA division and especially the grassroots members, it is unlikely that she will win in the election,” Chua said.
Hee, who is Perak state assembly deputy speaker, sparked controversy by leaving the DAP in February 2009 and pledging her support for the BN government in Perak. The defection by Hee and two other PKR state assemblymen swung the balance of power to the BN in the state which was won by the Pakatan Rakyat coalition during the 2008 general election.
Jelapang is shaping up to be a hot seat at the next general election given Hee’s ambition to defend it against a potential candidate from her former party. Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has maintained that DAP will be offering its own candidate for the Jelapang seat, quashing hopes for Parti Sosialis Malaysia to stand in that constituency.
During the 2008 election, Hee won the Jelapang seat under the DAP banner after securing 12,219 votes against BN’s Loh Koi Pin and independent Sarasvathy Muthu, who polled 5,512 and 1,275 votes respectively.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Nov 16, 2012.