BY: NOOR HASILAH ISMAIL
After the infamous sex video scandal, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the former health minister has again risen from the ashes of his political quagmire. In an exclusive interview with him, Agendadaily explores his new role as MCA’s number two and his plans for the party.
Q: You are now back in the driver’s seat of MCA, but with no ministerial post. There are rumours that you are unhappy and upset?
A: I am not unhappy and I am not upset.
Q: But you sound unhappy?
A: I did not say that. You assume that. A lot of people assume that. Of course I am happy to know that I still get strong support from MCA members.
Q: What do you have to say on your appointment as Head of Government Policy Monitoring Bureau, instead of being the MCA state Liaison Chairman or a ministerial post?
A: The appointment of party positions is the hand of the president. Whether I am happy or not is not important, what is important is whether the members of MCA are happy or not. I regard the appointment as my job, nothing to be happy, and nothing to be upset.
Q: Were you surprised when you won the number two post, despite your past scandal is still the talk of town?
A: The people understand, what is wrong is wrong, but at least I had the courage to admit my mistakes, apologize and resigned. Unlike most people who likes to deny and avoid the issue. Our people are smart enough to know that success does not mean that you don’t make mistakes. We learn from mistakes. I am only human.
After making a mistake, I handled my mistake and move forward. It was not easy to contest against a minister who is the secretary of the party, and also the brother of the president. My win showed that the delegates have their own choice who they want to support, even though when it became a four-man contest.
Q: Were you confident of winning before the elections?
A: Yes, because I do my work and I deliver what I promised. I believe the MCA delegates vote with wisdom, not with emotions.
Q: Without a prominent post in MCA, how do you think you could help shape-up MCA, and what can you promise the members?
A: I was not promised any post when I contested. The real reason I came back was because I felt after I resigned, I went through a period of soul-searching, weighing the possibilities of whether I should retire for good or continue. Then, I have been doing it (active in politics) for 23 years and it has become part of my life.
Q: You were reported as saying in a Chinese daily that there are a lot of members in MCA who are unhappy with the new line-up of MCA. Who are these unhappy people?
A: Those who are unhappy are people who voted for me. They felt that the party should be united and in order to do that, they believe the party need to accommodate different people with different voices. They also feel that the president should be accountable to the members’ right.
Q: As Deputy President with no ministerial post, do you feel you are being “confined” to exert your capabilities?
A: I can do whatever I can with all the limitations. The first thing I did when I was appointed was to apologize to the party if I could not perform well due to limited “space”.
Q: What is actually happening in MCA?
A: Like all other parties, we have internal problems too, the biggest being fractions in the party. Even in UMNO, there are members who support certain people not because of “perjuangan parti” but because of relationship. When there is disunity in its component parties, if will definitely affect the performance of BN in the next election.
We know our weaknesses and we also know the weaknesses of the BN government. Hopefully all the component parties will rectify all issues within their parties, close rank and stay united before the next general elections.
Q: Can you elaborate your role as the Head of Government Policy Monitoring Bureau?
A: I monitor government policies, see whether it is fair and reflect the wishes of the rakyat, or whether there are deviations, outdated, or not adequate to meet the challenges of the 20th century.
Q: What do you think of claims that suggested establishments of SRJK could enhance racial tension and it should be scrapped?
A: Under the constitution, all the races have the freedom to choose the medium of education. I don’t believe the SRJK can cause racial tension. There is no basis to scrap SRJK Chinese or Tamil as long as all of us accept Bahasa
Learning Mandarin or other language does not mean “ kita tak cintai atau hormati Bahasa
You cannot deny that Mandarin is one of the fastest growing languages in the world. Moreover
Q: Your comment on certain quarters in MCA who labeled Umno as a bully?
A: This perception comes about because some UMNO leaders are so arrogant. Sometimes in the UMNO MT meetings, they will discuss certain issue and it became a government policy, when it should actually be brought to the cabinet.
Q: Your opinion on the contest for Umno top posts?
A: I think it is healthy. It gives UMNO members to chance to elect. It has been so many years since the number two post is being contested. The leaders should be decided by the members. As an MCA leader, I have no intention to get involved. I am sure UMNO members have the wisdom to choose who they want.
Q: Your opinion on money politics?
A: Money politics is bad. It only goes to demonstrate that money can buy positions. In this case, a good leader with caliber, but with no money, has no chance to win and it breeds corruption.