A few Bloggers met up with Dato Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek at the MCA HQ in Jalan Ampang this morning (Thursday 27 Decemver 2012). Here is a deliberately downsized picture :
Each time I have met Dr Chua Soi Lek he talks straight with no pretenses. We covered a range of issues. He highlighted many concerns but at the end of it all he is very confident of the MCA and the BN doing well in the coming general elections. The man is a fighter.
When questioned about the support for him within the MCA, he acknowledged that there were factions. But he also asked which political party does not have factions? He says the only way to overcome any factionalism in the party is to work hard. And he said he works very hard - something which few can deny.
Perhaps the MCA has not had a president who works as hard as Chua Soi Lek. The party is making inroads. Dr Chua spoke of a Net savvy DAP Youth leader (identified with Ronnie Liu) who recently joined the MCA.
He also voices disappointment at inconsistent Government policy that is making things difficult. The AES issue is just one. Dr Chua has made a simple suggestion to have a six month trial run first to iron out all the bugs.
He also speaks plain common sense about the English teachers issue. Why hire the Mat Sallehs with their strange accents that no one can understand? And why hire English teachers from India with their even stranger accents? Why not just hire our local retired English teachers who are willing to teach? As long as they have the experience just ask them "Are you willing to teach English on a contract basis?" Problem can be solved.
Dr Chua says passing English should be made compulsory in all schools. Mandarin should also be offered in all Government schools as part of Pupils Own Language or POL. Siapa mahu boleh belajar Mandarin.
Then Dr Chua spoke of people within Government who want to sabotage the Government. (I fully agree with this view). He speaks of unnecessary hurdles and brickwalls that are thrown up by people within Government to frustrate Government propgrams.
He gave the example of three 'sekolah bantuan penuh' Chinese schools. The SRJK Hua Ming in Gopeng (sorry kalau wrong spelling), SRJK Gunong Rapat and SRJK Kopisan. These three schools have already been alotted certain sums of money for their school projects. Amounts of RM500,000, RM300,000 and RM1.0 million respectively.
However despite much efforts the funds are not being released by the Government folks. So here is a situation where money has already been allocated but not released by bureaucrats, under various procedural excuses. Both sides have their arguments. Meantime school expansion does not happen. Votes are also lost.
Dr Chua Soi Lek reiterates that no one has done more for Chinese education as well as educating the Chinese in the country than the MCA. The TAR College and now the UTAR have produced over 200,000 graduates including many DAP leaders. This is something he is really proud of.
Revisiting the issue of factionalism and lack of support he spoke bluntly about the Ong Tee Keat faction trying to sabotage him in Melaka. Dr Chua feels that if there is a hung Parliament after the general elections, Ong Tee Keat may just pack his bags and leave. Like Chua Jui Ming.
He said that at one time Ong Tee Keat did conduct an online poll to ask if MCA should leave the BN.
He said that in the 2008 elections, Chua Jui Ming had some of the MCA 'bilik gerakan' closed early which gave a very bad image to the voters. People thought they were being sombong for closing early.
He also spoke of non cooperation from Ketua Bahagian UMNO. In Gopeng where the MCA held the Parliamentary seat plus two out of three State seats, the Ketua Bahagian UMNO did not give the MCA some of the election funds that were allocated for the area. He says the same thing has happened to MCA's Ampang division. This slows down the MCA's activities as well.
He says the BN lost the Gopeng seat because of sabotage. The people who were supposed to organise transport and logistics for the 4,600 Orang Asli voters in the jungle did not get things organised until 4 pm - one hour before the polls closed. Dr Chua feels this was done on purpose.
And here is his warning - this sabotage will be duplicated again this time. Why? Because the same saboteurs are still lurking around. Dr Chua says they do not understand the meaning of 'demi negara, bangsa dan agama'.
MCA is again putting in for 40 Parliamentary seats. Dr Chua says he is willing to give up any seats to other BN parties if they think they have a better chance of winning them. He says he has already agreed to let other BN parties contest two MCA seats - including one requested by Kayveas.
He says with slightly tongue in cheek, "Which MCA president is so good?".
He is not worried about the Dong Zong and the ultra groups. He says their influence is waning as the younger generation of Chinese is becoming more multi racial in their outlook.
Coming back to Ong Tee Keat, he says (again with a bit of tongue in cheek) that he is the first MCA president who defeated two former party presidents to secure the MCA presidency. He says he is not boasting but it is a matter of fact. So he says he can defeat any number of factions in the MCA. Dr Chua feels quite certain.
Dr Chua Soi Lek fully supports the PM Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak. He says people can see that the PM is doing his best. Unfortunately, he says, the PM is surrounded by two MCA men who are anti Chua Soi Lek. But he says he can overcome that too.
Dr Chua says he meets many people quietly, especially the Indian community. He tells his people not to inform the Press of these meetings with the Indian community.
His advice to Datuk Liow Tiong Lai the deputy president of the MCA is to be patient and not challenge the presidency yet. He says if Liow challenges and loses, it will be the end of his career. He says all deputy presidents of the MCA have never become president except one - himself. Again he said it matter of factly with no attitude.
He feels vindicated over his incessant campaigning against the PAS version of hudud. It has had an effect on the Chinese community. The recent actions by PAS in Kelantan have only reinforced his warnings to the community.
Dr Chua Soi Lek also cracked a joke. Asked about the fact that the DAP's Nga Kor Ming and Ngeh Koo Ham of Perak have acquired interests in 10,000 acres of land in Kelantan (all done legally of course) he wants the DAP to teach the Barisan Nasional how to acquire 10,000 acres of land despite being Perak EXCO members for just one year?
My comments : I spoke with a prominent person about Chua Soi Lek and he agreed that Dr Chua is working hard and has the peoples' interests at heart.
My friend said that the Chinese community - being a business community - should also be aware that despite all the chaos going on in the world around us, Malaysia still enjoys good economic growth of over 5%. Inflation is within means and we have a low unemployment rate.
Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood taking over, the unemployment rate in Egypt is now at 35%. Very soon the Egyptians will be eating grass.
Imagine if the PAS takes over, what will be our unemployment rate? If PAS comes into power, do you think the hair dressing salons will suffer higher or lower unemployment?