MCA’s Chua Jui Meng jumps to PKR

PETALING JAYA, July 18 — Former MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng, who lost two bids for the party's top post, confirmed his worst-kept secret and officially joined Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR) today in a boost for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that has been wracked by differences between its three allies.

It is understood the former health minister had submitted his forms earlier and today’s announcement at a PKR forum was a formality, party sources said.

Former MCA Senator Datuk David Yeoh and former Lumut MP Datuk Yap Yit Thong also announced they were joining PKR to applause from the 1,000 members at the forum in Bandar Sunway here.

Chua and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were earlier enthusiastically greeted with loud cheers when they turned up at 3.30pm for the “The Truth Behind the Scandals: Perak, PKFZ and the BN Conspiracy” forum held at the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa.

The party members also strung up a banner that said “Congratulations to Chua for joining PKR”.

“I am resigning as a member of MCA and with the permission of PKR's de facto leader, I'm announcing that I'm joining PKR," Chua said as the crowd shouted “Reformasi”.

“I'm convinced that today I'm standing on the right side of history, especially at this defining moment of history, I'm joining this party.”

The 64-year-old lawyer quit as Bakri MCA division chief two days ago, after leading the division for the past 23 years. He ran for the MCA president’s post twice but lost to Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting in 2005 and Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat last year.

But he told his division he would stick with MCA and was giving up his post to allow fresh blood, asking them to give their undivided support to Tee Keat as party president.


At a press conference later, Chua said he was misquoted by the press. "I did not deny nor did I confirm," he said.

The MCA did not pick Chua to defend the Bakri parliamentary seat in Election 2008, leading to its loss to DAP's Er Teck Hwa and making it the sole opposition seat in Johor.

Supporters of the late Teoh carry his pictures outside the forum venue.
His defection is the latest sign of fractious politics in the MCA as deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was recently issued a notice to appear before the party disciplinary board over his 2007 DVD sex scandal.

Chua also said MCA was destined to doom if it continues to be a mono-race party and this, he said, became one of the many reasons for leaving a party he has served since 1976.

"I noticed that I and Anwar share the same ideals. I believe in the two-party system and this is under heavy attack by the Umno-led government. This precipitated my decision to join them," he said further.

Chua also said that the sudden death of a PR political aide, Teoh Beng Hock, became the tipping point in his decision to join PKR, saying the incident, among others, prompted him to join in PR's fight in reforming the country.

MCA, he said, was no longer able to make the changes desired by the people as long as it bows down to what he calls the bullish leadership of BN's masters Umno.

Veteran Barisan Nasional leaders who have recently defected to PKR include former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, MCA’s former deputy Wanita leader Dr Tan Yew Kew and former Gerakan veep Dr Tan Tee Kwong.

Anwar said Chua will definitely have a prominent post and role to play in the party. It will be decided once the party supreme council convenes.

MI
18/07/09

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