KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy retained the posts of MCA president and deputy president respectively, signalling that the party has returned to a united front once again after going through a leadership crisis a few years ago.
Ong and Chan, aligned to Team A led by then president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Team B spearheaded by then deputy president Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, respectively, at the height of the party crisis a few years ago, were endorsed by the 2,341 delegates who voted in the party elections Saturday.
The outcome of the polls reflected the call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, while opening the 52nd MCA general assembly Saturday morning, for the delegates to ensure that the MCA wins as a united MCA would create a stronger Barisan Nasional.
The choice of Ong, 49, the Housing and Local Government Minister, and Chan, 50, the Transport Minister, showed the delegates indicating to their leaders that they wanted no factions in the party and that they wanted the two to work together for the sake of the party and the Malaysian Chinese community.
Ong and Chan, who were picked by the party central committee after a peace deal between Ling and Lim in May 2003, beat their opposition with solid margins.
Ong beat five-term vice-president and former Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng with a 696-vote majority, securing 1,515 votes against Chua's 819 votes.
The results were announced at the Dewan San Choon, where the polling was held earlier in the day.
Chan retained his post by securing 1,315 votes against two other contenders, party Secretary General Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh, who obtained 938 votes, and former MCA Youth deputy chief Chan Tse Yuen, who obtained 72 votes.
The results for the posts of president and deputy president do not come as a surprise as Friday's MCA Youth and Wanita elections had indicated that delegates to this assembly wanted the former factions in the party to work together.
For the four posts of vice president, Human Resource Minister Datuk Fong Chan Onn, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat and Deputy Information Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai made the cut from the nine contesting candidates.
Fong polled 1,496 votes, Dr Chua 1,398, Ong 1,301 and Lim 1,225.
The losing candidates were Datuk Tan Chai Ho (1,223), Datuk Fu Ah Kiow (1,137), Chor Chee Heung (629), Datuk Yap Pian Hon (394) and Datuk Chau Tet On (329).
Ong, when met by reporters, expressed his thanks to the delegates who had voted in the whole team to lead the party for the next three years.
He said this MCA polls was "very democratic" and the delegates had given the team the mandate to carry out the party agenda. He said MCA now does not have any camps but only one MCA.
Chua Jui Meng, mobbed by reporters outside the hall where the results were announced, was asked of his plans and replied: "I will continue what I am doing now."
"I accept the decision; that is what the delegates wanted. They have shown their full support towards the current leadership and I have confidence that the party would serve the people," he added.
Chan, in thanking the delegates, said the results of the elections were fair and the selected team would work for the party and the Malaysian Chinese community.
Ting, gracious in defeat, said he would not quit politics due to the defeat and would continue to serve the party in whatever way possible.
Chau, who had a miserable outing in the elections, said he was surprised with the result but not saddened.
He said the poor result obtained showed that his philosophy of politics was not accepted by delegates.
"I have been sandwiched between the two camps in the last few days, when it showed that I never stood a chance," he added.
Fong, who obtained the highest number of votes for vice president, said he was humbled by the decision of the delegates.
Former Youth chief Datuk Ong Tee Keat, who made it in the vice president race, said the win was a pleasant surprise for him.
He said he had been receiving a lot of support, not only from delegates but also from members who could not vote and "I thank them from the bottom of my heart".
Donald Lim said he was pleased that he had been elected as a vice president, and thanked the delegates for trusting him and promised to work together with the new leadership over the next three years.
"I am pleased to note that as newly elected vice presidents we have to work very closely with the Chinese community as well as the other BN counterparts," he added.
Fu, the only incumbent who lost the vice-president's race, said he accepted the decision as it was a democratic elections.
"For those who did not vote me, I respect their decision and for those who voted me, I thank them. I would definitely continue to play my role as the Kuantan MP," he said.