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MCA chief: Snooping spies claim 'unthinkable' Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 April 2008

by Beh Lih Yi

MCA president Ong Ka Ting has strongly denied the existence of a clandestine group of ‘spies’ delegated to snoop on his political enemies, describing the accusation as “really unthinkable”.

“This is not true at all. The person who made the claim need to be responsible for what he said... This is really unthinkable,” he told reporters after a four-hour party’s presidential council meeting at the MCA headquarters at Jalan Ampang late yesterday.

Ong said a committee, comprising party veterans, has been set up to investigate the claim.

“We need to investigate the statement, we are of the view that this is a serious accusation. The party doesn’t need this unhealthy culture,” he stressed.

The party president later revealed to Malaysiakini that the three-man committee will be headed by former party deputy secretary-general Dr Sak Cheng Lum whom he described as a credible party veteran.

The other two members are lawyers Roger Tan and Teh Hock Kee, who is also the party’s legal bureau vice-chief.

‘Clear the name of the accused’

Ong said he hoped the committee will be able to furnish the investigation results as soon as possible to clear the name of those who have been accused as behind the ‘spies’.

“This is very unfair to those being accused,” he said.

The revelation of the alleged group of ‘spies’ was first made by a former divisional leader during the first stop of the ‘Save MCA campaign’ in Ipoh last week. The campaign, believed to be initiated by disgruntled party leaders, is demanding for Ong’s resignation.

The group of ‘spies’ was allegedly formed about three years ago to pry into the private lives of the political rivals of a senior official’s political.

The most prominent casualty of their machinations, it was claimed, was former MCA vice-president Dr Chua Soi Lek, who quit active politics after being embroiled in a sex scandal.

Another vice-president Donald Lim - said to be a contender for the No 1 or 2 post in the coming party’s election in October - told Malaysiakini in an interview earlier this week that he was among those targeted by the group.

At the press conference, Ong also announced that party leaders will go on a national roadshow to explain to party delegates on a set of action plan to reinvent and re-engineer the party after the March 8 general election.

The roadshow is also aimed at obtaining feedback from party grassroots and cadres.

Ong however denied the roadshow is being organised to counter the ‘Save MCA campaign’.

“No, there is no such thing as ‘save MCA campaign’, this is only the work of a small group of people trying to think of a name (for their activity). We are providing the leadership (as it is now),” he stressed.

Ong was also tightlipped on his plan in the coming party election. He declined to say whether he would defend his presidency, stressing that his priority now was on party rebuilding.

“We are intensifying our efforts to revitalise the party. We don’t want to send a wrong message that what we are doing now is tuned towards party elections, I would rather not talk about (the party poll) at this juncture,” he reiterated.

PAS’ ‘ulterior motive’

Meanwhile, the MCA chief criticised PAS leader Dr Haron Din’s statement that the Islamic party wants to implement strict Islamic laws, such as the hudud law, once it takes over the federal government.

“This is what we have been cautioning people that PAS has this ulterior motive of trying to force upon the country a system which can’t be accepted by the multi-racial society, especially the non-Muslims.

“We strongly condemn this and their partners (in Pakatan Rakyat) need to openly declare the stand regarding what Haron Din has said,” Ong noted.

The statement of the PAS leader, who is from the conservative ulama group, was first carried in a report in PAS party organ Harakahdaily and was highlighted in a front-page report in Sin Chew Daily yesterday.

Ong nevertheless sidestepped a question that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has previously declared Malaysia an Islamic country, saying the present government still holds firm to the spirit of the constitution.

Deputy president Chan Kong Choy were among several senior party leaders who flanked the president at the press conference held shortly after the presidential council meeting.

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