02 June 2010
PM, Soi Lek defends Chua junior appointment
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek today defended the appointment of the latter’s son as deputy minister in yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle, denying there was any form of nepotism involved or that they had brokered an agreement.
Instead, Soi Lek claimed that he had submitted Chua Tee Yong’s name to the prime minister for consideration as his son was one of the only two MPs in MCA who did not have and have never held any government post.
The MCA has 15 MPs in Parliament.
“We have 15 MPs. Out of this 15, 13 are either holding posts or have held posts before in the government.
“So I submitted the remaining two names — (Labis MP) Tee Yong and (Gelang Patah MP) Tan Ah Eng to the prime minister. That is your answer,” he told a press conference at Wisma MCA here this afternoon.
Soi Lek was asked to comment on speculation that a “gentlemen’s agreement” had been reached between him and Datuk Seri Najib Razak after he decided not to seek a spot in Cabinet.
Najib said that Tee Yong had been chosen based on his abilities.
The Prime Minister told reporters during a walkabout in SS2 today that he had screened through a list of potential candidates before making his decision and had found that Tee Yong fulfilled the criteria to fill the post.
He pointed out that Tee Yong’s age did not matter and that the first-term MP had not been chosen because his father was the MCA president.
During yesterday’s minor reshuffle, Tee Yong was appointed as deputy minister in the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry.
The junior politician has received much publicity of late after he moved from becoming a first-term MP to rise quickly in the party ranks, when he secured a spot in the party’s central committee during the March polls.
Since then, Tee Yong has been appointed to sit on the party’s presidential council under his father’s recommendation and has also been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor MCA’s assets estimated at over RM2 billion.
Soi Lek defended the move of offering Tee Yong’s name to the Prime Minister (PM) by saying that the MCA had little choice in the matter as it had so few elected representatives.
“Ideally, the posts of ministers and deputy ministers should be given to elected representatives.
“Having a lot of senators in those posts is not the best idea. However, under present circumstances, the MCA has no choice but to do this,” he explained.
He agreed that the Senate seemed more bloated than before but continued to reiterate that even the PM himself had no choice.
“This is the result of the 12th general election. We have to work with what we have,” he said.
When asked to comment on the Pakatan Rakyat’s stand that the prime minister should call for by-elections to allow the newly appointed senators to become elected representatives, Soi Lek said: “Well, they are entitled to their own opinion. Like I mentioned, this is the result of Elections 2008.”
“We in the MCA only have 15 MPs.”
He said, however, that the Constitution stipulates that senators could become ministers or deputy ministers.
“The only way to make a person a minister or deputy minister even if he or she is not an elected representative is through making the person a senator,” he said.
MCA vice-presidents Datuk Donald Lim and Gan Ping Sieu were made senators and subsequently given deputy ministerial posts in Najib’s administration.
From the MIC, the party’s deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel was made a senator and the deputy minister for plantation industries and commodities.
Chua is no different from Mahathir and Samy Vellu. Birds of the same feather flock together. At the end of the day, Ong Tee Keat is the most honourable. MCA is a useless party, fighting only for its own members and not the Chinese. Glad I did not vote MCA/BN and never will.
Do you actually believe that there is no 'deal' in the appointment? Actually only 2 persons living in Malaysia believe it - one newborn & the other just woke up from a decade long comatose.......
if Soi Lek has an ounce of honesty and integrity left, he should have avoided submitting his son's name to Najib. No amount of explaination will convince the rakyat there is no dealing with Najib. After all, Soi Lek's past is not exactly examplary.
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