Chua Jui Meng Joins PKR
Chua Jui Meng joins PKR
By Eileen Ng
PETALING JAYA: Former health minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng has quit MCA to join Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), hinting at MCA’s inability to reform as one of the reasons for him to jump ship.
“I am resigning as a MCA member and I’m announcing that I’m joining PKR,” he said to thunderous applause and shouts of “Reformasi” from the 1,000-strong crowd at the “Truth Behind the Scandal — Perak, PKFZ and the BN Conspiracy” forum at a hotel here yesterday.
Chua and PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim walked into the packed ballroom at 3.30pm. A banner with Chua’s picture and the words “Congratulations Datuk Chua Jui Meng for joining PKR” was unfurled.
Rumours that the former MCA vice-president and ex-Bakri member of parliament’s defection to the opposition party gained momentum when he quit as Bakri MCA division chief three days ago, citing the need for new blood to lead the division.
Chua contested the MCA presidency twice and lost to Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting in 2005 and Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat last year.
Besides Chua, two other MCA members — former senator Datuk David Yeoh Eng Hock and former Lumut MP Datuk Dr Yap Yin Tong — also joined PKR yesterday.
Chua said he warned MCA delegates last year that the party risked becoming irrelevant if it did not change in three years.
“I tried twice to reform MCA but I failed,” he said referring to his two bids for the presidency.
He said he joined PKR because he saw Anwar as a “kindred spirit seeking change” and that he believed in two-party system for the country.
“The death of Teoh Beng Hock was the tipping point for me to join PKR. I see that a federal institution has gone overboard. The people are angry.”
He was referring to a political aide who was found dead on the roof of Plaza Masalam Thursday after questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. He was assisting investigations into several Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen from Selangor.
At a news conference later, Chua said he joined PKR without any conditions, and said he was “wrongly quoted” by the media that reported he was not leaving MCA.
“I didn’t deny or confirm their queries. I just told them I will tell all when the time is right,” he said, adding that he would submit his resignation letter to MCA soon.
“With his age and experience, I’m convinced he will be an important asset,” said Anwar, adding that Chua would be invited to join the party’s supreme council.
MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he was shocked by Chua’s move.
“MCA is not as strong as before. Members should be united and help the party get back the support of the Chinese community,” he said.
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