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I'm being smeared, MCA chief tells 'snoop squad' inquiry Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting testified today before the party committee inquiring into an alleged "snoop squad" formed to spy on his political rivals, and said later that the allegation was a smear campaign against him in the run-up to party elections scheduled for October.

He said in a statement issued by the party headquarters that there was no truth to the allegation by Petaling Jaya Utara MCA Division adviser Wong Leong, who had first spoken of the spy team last month.

Ong had refuted the allegation before but the party presidential council formed a three-man inquiry committee to probe the allegation. The committee is headed by Tan Sri Dr Sak Cheng Lum and comprises Tan Sri Michael Chen and lawyer Roger Tan as members.

Ong testified for an hour from 1.45 pm before the inquiry committee at Parliament House. He was attending the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

In his statement today, Ong said: "Being the national president of the party, I had been given the full mandate by the (MCA) central committee to decide on the (party) candidacy for the (March 8) general election. I have exercised this mandate with care. I do not need to resort to any unethical tactic to get rid of anybody."

In his testimony to the inquiry panel on Monday, Wong named three party members whom he alleged were in the so-called snoop squad – MCA Youth chief and Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, deputy Youth and Sports Minister and Tanjung Piai Member of Parliament Wee Jeck Seng and former Gerakan Belia Bersatu chairman Tee An Chuan.

Wong had claimed that Tee, whom he identified as the contact person of the team, had approached him to help assist the snoop squad, claimed to have been set up in February 2005 and reporting directly to Ong, to eliminate certain political leaders in the party.

He had also claimed that among the leaders targeted by the squad are former health ministers Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Chua Jui Meng, former deputy tourism minister and MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai, former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and his son Datuk Ling Hee Leong as well as their supporters.

The panel then decided to call all the three persons identified by Wong as being in the snoop squad and Ong as well to give their testimony today.

Ong, in his statement today, denied that he had ever employed Tee with a salary of RM10,000 a month to perform "the task" as alleged by Wong as he (Ong) had "nothing to do with Tee's acts or omissions concerning the affairs of the party".

He said he did not rule out the possibility of taking legal action against Wong and added that "the false allegations against me that have been publicised by Wong Leong and other quarters are defamatory in nature".

Liow, after testifying before the inquiry committee at the party headquarters in Jalan Ampang, told reporters that Wong's allegation was a "political character assassination" as the allegations were false.

"I suspect that those involved in the allegations are resorting to dirty tactics to achieve their own hidden personal agenda," he said, adding that the media reports on the issue had brought unwarranted attention and negative impact on him and the party.

"If this is related to the upcoming party elections, then it is yet another setback for the MCA's poor showing in the March 8 general election. This in turn will destabilise the party and bring joy to our opponents," he said.

Liow said that when he was deputy youth and sports minister, his office door was always open to visitors, including Tee Ah Chuan who had met him occasionally.

"While it is true that Mr Tee An Chuan visited me occasionally, the discussions we had were confined to youth activities and the ministry's allocation to youth bodies. Mr Wong Leong's allegation on the snoop squad, therefore, are baseless and lies.

"The allegations are a serious attempt to discredit me in the eyes of the public. I strongly feel that there is a hidden hand behind this whole incident and I believe the truth will eventually prevail," he said. — Bernama


Ong Ka Ting replies to Wong Leong

Below is the unedited statement issued by the MCA president

1. Allegations have been made by one Wong Leong in his statement published on 12 May 2008 (Wong Leong’s Statement) that I had supposedly employed one Tee Ann Chuan (“Tee”) at a monthly salary of RM10,000.00 to perform certain tasks. While those are bare and unsubstantiated allegations, they have nevertheless been widely publicized. For the record, I state that there is no truth at all in those allegations. In fact, I had and have nothing to do with Tee’s acts or omissions concerning the affairs of the Party. The allegation that I had asked him to carry out certain tasks is baseless and untrue. Neither had I given him any documents in order to carry out those supposed tasks.

2. Wong Leong has made another allegation that I had set up a “secret three-men committee” to remove or weaken certain party leaders named by him. There is again no truth whatsoever in this allegation that he mischievously makes but cannot substantiate.

3. I believe that Wong Leong’s Statement not only totally lacks credibility, but also has behind it a clear political motive of a smear campaign against me as the National President of the Party. Being the National President of the Party, I have been given a full mandate by the Central Committee to decide on the candidacy for the General Election. I have exercised this mandate with care. I do not need to resort to any unethical tactics to get rid of anybody. I verily believe that I have exercised the mandate given by the Central Committee in the best interest of the Party.

4. I strongly believe that the wild allegations made by Wong Leong’s Statement are part of a political smear campaign against me in the run-up to a contest for party leadership. I have always advocated democracy in the Party. A contest for party leadership is part of a democratic system. However, I believe that such contest should be run on the leadership qualities and visions of its respective contestants, and not through some unhealthy mud-slinging exercise or political maneuvers that do not benefit the Party, its members, or the expectations of the people on us as leaders and politicians.

5. The false allegations against me that have been publicized by Wong Leong and other quarters are defamatory in nature. I reserve my rights to take legal action against them at the appropriate time. I will, of course, also take into account the interests of the Party and the Nation.

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