By Alan Ting
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 (Bernama) — Some quarters in the MCA have come up with yet another option to resolve the party’s leadership crisis — bring forward the party elections scheduled for next year.
“They (the elections) could be held before the end of this year, starting with the branch elections and followed by the divisional elections, and the whole process could be wrapped up by March or April next year,” a source told Bernama.
The source said the option, which is different from the fresh polls for the top party posts requested by a group of Central Committee (CC) members led by vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, could be the best solution to break the current impasse.
The warring factions had previously agreed to hold fresh polls for the MCA top posts but disagreed on the timing, with Liow’s faction initially pushing for the fresh polls to be held by this month at the latest.
However, the faction failed to get the required two-thirds of the CC members to resign. Only 13, including Liow, have sent in their conditional resignation letters. Two-thirds of the 31 elected members of the CC, or 21, must resign for the elections to be held.
“If the party decides to have early elections, which would involve all levels and be nationwide, there is a possibility the majority of the CC members will agree to it,” the source said.
However, initial feedback shows that both sides, that which is aligned to party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and that to Liow, do not quite agree to such an option.
Some CC members said it would not make much of a difference while those aligned to Liow were still adamant that fresh polls should be held immediately.
“I don’t think it will make any difference. There is no need to bring forward the party elections. Just observe the time frame. If you hold the polls earlier, either fresh (top posts) polls or early party elections, it will still not solve the problem.
“Why don’t we wait for the proper party elections next year (beginning with branch elections in March). Or why not wait for the direct presidential election system to be implemented first?” asked CC member Eng Hiap Boon.
Another CC member, Wong Nai Chee, also shot down the option, claiming it was just a “smoke screen” strategy by those who did want to go for fresh polls as he believed that only through fresh elections could the party ensure “quick recovery and restoration of party integrity”.
“All the while, we have been talking of fresh elections for the top posts, not about bringing forward party elections,” he said.
He also claimed that those who did not want fresh polls were trying to confuse the party grassroots.
Party veteran Datuk Yap Pian Hon said such an option was not a logical solution even though the CC could decide to bring forward the party elections.
“There are several issues (to be considered) with such an option. First, they must resolve the issue of membership subscription fees with has to be renewed by the end of this year.
“Let’s say you want to start in October. At least by June, the CC has to make the decision and the election steering committee has to be formed and make all the necessary preparations, which could take up to three months,” he said.