Jan 11, 2008

Chua Soi Lek is staging a political comeback?

After Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Chua Soi Lek could be the third comeback kid?

Probably with the support of Ling Jr., anything is possible. (Malaysiakini)

Observers suggest possible comeback attempt by former Malaysian Health Minister

(CNA) KUALA LUMPUR : Observers in Malaysia suggest a possible comeback attempt by disgraced former Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, which could trigger intense politicking within his political party.

All is not lost for Dr Chua, who fell from grace and stepped down after a sex scandal.

Dr Chua had also resigned his parliamentary seat, and his vice-presidency at the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).

The MCA, a key member of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, is keeping his post vacant until triennial party elections due later this year.

Some political observers believe the disgraced former minister is buying time, and will try to stage a comeback.

Professor Khoo Kay Kim, Political Analyst, University Malaya, said, "He won't be the first politician in the world who's done something wrong, repented and made a comeback."

Lim Kit Siang, Leader, Democratic Action Party, said, "He's going to face considerable uphill obstacles because of what he has gone through, but one can never know..."

MCA chief Ong Ka Ting, who is now the Acting Health Minister, has postponed party elections originally scheduled in March or April.

As this is the first time the MCA's internal polls have been shelved, the announcement has sparked off speculation that General Elections will be called during that period.

Previous party polls had been heated affairs, with mudslinging and split loyalties.

Analysts believe a repeat of that would undermine the MCA's performance at the national level.

When he admitted that he was the man filmed in a sex tryst, Dr Chua suggested that he was the victim of internal politicking.

His meeting with his lover in a hotel was made into a DVD and circulated publicly.

Dr Chua said, "People are smart enough to use it, this is the most cost effective, time effective so I'm sure I'll not be the first and I won't be the last."

The MCA has issued a gag order barring party members from discussing the issue openly, a move that has raised eyebrows.

Mr Lim said, "It's a reflection of guilty conscience that his downfall is a result of MCA politicking and the more they talk about it, the more they'll highlight and bring home to the people that this is all unprincipled and MCA is jostling for power."

Professor Khoo said, "If there had been two groups, new team A, team B for example, one team has already lost its leader. I think it is better for the team which has lost its leader not to pursue their struggle."

However, MCA party chief Ong Ka Ting has dismissed speculation of a political conspiracy.

He said, "We commend him for putting the party and country before self."

Despite the show of unity, there is no denying that a Batu Pahat MCA member was jailed for having copies of Dr Chua's DVD. - CNA/ms

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