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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Disclosure by architect of Scorpene purchase disproves Opposition claims, says Shabery Cheek

Posted: 27 Jul 2013 04:14 AM PDT

(Bernama) - The architect of the Scorpene submarine purchase made in France has disclosed details disproving Opposition's fictitious claims through Suaram.

As such, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said it was a major revelation that contradicted stories made up by certain groups such as Suaram, and parties hungry for a power grab in the country.

He said the 'tell-all' by Jasbir Singh Chahl - the architect of the submarine deal - to modernise the national defence system was timely.

 "The other side is busy putting up a show, so they are now collecting funds to hire lawyers for the case in France.

 "For me, they can continue to solicit funds to enrich the lawyers, and the people should be careful not to be cheated in this issue," he said.

Ahmad Shabery was commenting on Jasbir's disclosure on the issue in an English daily Saturday.

 He said the people should reject such lies and appreciate the clarification of the government made earlier.

 "The Scorpene issue has been explained in the Dewan Rakyat. When asked to swear, the prime minister was willing to do so. However, none of the accusing parties dared to swear on their allegations," he said.

According Ahmad Shabery, the submarine acquisition was a major contract for the country and the government would audit it to ensure no misappropriation took place.

 "The submarine is not an item we can buy from a shop. It was based on a contract before construction could begin. The equipment systems need to be built, according to specifications and designs," he said.

Earlier, the minister presented contributions to 261 imams and bilals from 49 mosques in the Kemaman parliamentary constituency here.


Altantuya was never in France from 1999 to 2006: French Police

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 05:04 PM PDT

A fabricated picture of Altantuya in France

SLAIN Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu was never in France from 1999 to 2006, the year she died.

(NST) - In a startling disclosure following an exhaustive investigation, the French authorities have revealed that Altantuya, who had been linked to defence analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, was never in France during that time.

The independent French investigation, covering several agencies including the French immigration, was initiated after Malaysian human rights non-governmental organisation Suaram lodged a complaint in the French courts in 2010, claiming that French naval firm DCNS had paid RM452 million as a bribe to Malaysian officials to obtain the contract for two Scorpene submarines.

The amount was paid to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, the company in charge of the logistics and the training of the officers and men of the Royal Malaysian Navy's Submarine Force and covered project management and project integration services, coordinating the involvement of Malaysian companies in the industrial participation programme in the provision of services during the construction phase and to monitor the performance of these firms, helping the main contractor comply with all local laws and procedures relating to the execution of  the contract, coordinating and monitoring the training of RMN personnel in compliance with the main contract and in accordance with Malaysian Government and RMN expectations, and providing monthly reports on all of the above.

The picture of Altantuya having dinner in Paris with Razak Baginda and Najib Tun Razak that Tian Chua admitted he had fabricated

The biggest chunk of the fees went to the provision of food and accommodation and all the necessary services for the training of RMN personnel and their families in Brest, France, and Spain, for a period of six years, inclusive of health insurance premiums and perdiem allowances of a minimum of Euro50 per person.

Other costs include their return travel fares to Malaysia three times a year. In all, 145 RMN personnel, including 49 officers and dependents were covered by this. Perimekar's profit after tax was RM105,111,191.

Razak had helped Jasbir Singh Chahl work out the details in the purchase of the two Perdana Menteri-class diesel-powered fast-attack boats.

According to Razak's Baginda's evidence in court, he only met Altantuya in late 2004. The negotiations for the Scorpenes began in 2000 and the deal was inked in 2002.

A source close to the French investigations said that the investigations currently centres on the alleged corruption, and nothing more.

One of the myths that has been "accepted" as gospel was that Altantuya had acted as a translator for Razak.

However, in his deposition to the French authorities, former DCNS marketing manager for Malaysia and Singapore at the time, Fredric Faura, told investigators that there was no need for an interpreter since negotiations were in English and Malaysians were fluent in the language.


When this happened 35 years ago

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 04:44 PM PDT

Nevertheless, being less than a decade after 'May 13', the report about a Chinese youth stabbing a Malay youth to death made people very nervous. They rushed out to buy rice to stock up on the possibility that there was going to be a curfew following race riots. Some went to Singapore for an 'early' holiday. Many stayed in-doors, in case. Chinese did not stray into 'Malay areas' and Malays stayed out of 'Chinese areas'. And so on.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Perkasa defends headmaster, demands action

Malay right-wing non-governmental organisation, Perkasa wants the authorities to act against individuals who politicised the recent issue over pupils eating recess meals at a changing room of a school in Sungai Buloh.

Its vice-president Zulkifli Noordin said certain quarters had taken advantage of the situation to slander the headmaster of Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana, Mohamad Nasir Mohd Nor, by branding him as a "racist" who forced non-Malay pupils to eat in the toilet.

"Clearly, the matter has been distorted and coated with lies when the truth is that the school has a small canteen that can only accommodate 600 pupils.

"The decision (to use the changing room) was made following a discussion between the teachers and the parent-teacher association, and the headmaster was only implementing the decision," he said at a news conference to announce the formation of the Malaysian Inter-Racial NGO Council (Mirac), here.

Zulkifli expressed Perkasa's support to defend Mohamad Nasir.

Meanwhile, chairman of the MIC Youth Education Bureau, P. Punithan, in a statement, urged all quarters not to turn the matter into a racial issue, saying it could undermine the existing racial unity.


I remember about 35 years ago when one newspaper reported the story of a Chinese youth stabbing a Malay youth to death. Some of us were outraged -- not regarding the incident but regarding the way the incident was reported.

It was actually a gang clash. There were many gang clashes in Kuala Lumpur at that time. Sometimes Chinese kill Chinese. Sometimes Malays kill Malays. Sometimes Indians kill Indians. And sometimes the one killed is someone from the other race.

In this case it happened to be a Chinese youth that killed a Malay youth. But the Chinese killed the Malay not because he was Malay but because he was a member of a rival gang. In fact, it was not even a Malay rival gang, as there were Chinese as well as Malays in that particular gang. It just happened to be that it was a Malay youth and not a Chinese youth from that gang who was killed.

Nevertheless, being less than a decade after 'May 13', the report about a Chinese youth stabbing a Malay youth to death made people very nervous. They rushed out to buy rice to stock up on the possibility that there was going to be a curfew following race riots. Some went to Singapore for an 'early' holiday. Many stayed in-doors, in case. Chinese did not stray into 'Malay areas' and Malays stayed out of 'Chinese areas'. And so on.

This was all because the newspaper reported that a Chinese youth stabbed a Malay youth to death instead of just reporting that one person died in a gang clash involving a few people.

They were gang members. And it was a gang clash. And one gang member killed another. Does it matter what race they were when race was not the motivation for the killing?

In fact, Chinese gang members (say from Pudu) also stab or 'chop' rival Chinese gang members (say from Petaling Street) and vice versa. But the newspapers just report the gang clash. They do not say 'Chinese youth stabs to death another Chinese youth'. So why the need to report that a Chinese youth has killed a Malay youth?

The same goes for the 'canteen-in-the-toilet' episode. If it had been, say, a Malay school and the Malay headmaster had asked the Malay students to eat in the changing room, it would not have been reported as a Muslim (or Malay) headmaster asking the Muslim (or Malay) students to eat in the changing room. It would have just been reported as the headmaster asking the students to eat in the changing room.

But in this case it has been reported as the Muslim (or Malay) headmaster asking the Hindu (or Indian) students to eat in the changing room. Hence it is no longer about the silly or inconsiderate act of the headmaster. It is now a racial and religious issue.

The headmaster may have done something silly and should be punished for this silly act. But we have done even worse than what the headmaster did. We have turned this into a racial and religious issue. Hence our crime is worse than the headmaster's by far.

And now we have been forced to take sides. This is no longer about whether what the headmaster did is wrong. It is about will all the Malays-Muslims please stand on the right and all the non-Malays-non-Muslims stand on the left. Yet one more thing has divided Malaysians, as if we are not already divided enough.


New Singapore story

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 03:36 PM PDT

First came the Chinese wave, now it is the Indian diaspora.

Statistics showed that by 2010 Singapore had given PR to about 110,600 Indian visitors, a prerequisite to becoming citizens. This compared to 237,000 Singaporean Indian citizens. The new wave of migrant workers has so far brought into Singapore some 400,000 Indians and 800,000-850,000 mainland Chinese.

Seah Chiang Nee, The Star

THIS trading port seems to be reliving its migrant past with the arrival in recent times of large numbers of traders, workers and students from China and India, both of which are linked historically with the island state since the days of Sir Stamford Raffles.

In a way that is reminiscent of China's earlier influx, Singapore is turning in a big way towards India to help pull itself out of its current economic rut.

The ties go beyond immigrants and trade and investment, touching on a host of matters ranging from films and music to scholars, from politics and military cooperation to technology.

In quantity and depth, India still has a long way to catch up with the Chinese, but its rate of progress here has been just as impressive.

Come October, Singapore's two airlines will operate 107 weekly flights to 11 Indian cities (up 21% over a year), flying 2,000,000 two-way passengers annually.

Three plane loads will come from New Delhi every day. In addition, Indian airlines will have 142 weekly flights to Singapore from all over India.

The connected Indian cities will include Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

However, the detailed ethnic backgrounds of the modern-day migrants are not revealed, apparently out of fear that it may undermine local harmony.

Statistics showed that by 2010 Singapore had given PR to about 110,600 Indian visitors, a prerequisite to becoming citizens. This compared to 237,000 Singaporean Indian citizens.

The new wave of migrant workers has so far brought into Singapore some 400,000 Indians and 800,000-850,000 mainland Chinese.

Other large foreign communities are 500,000 Malaysians, who have longer and deeper ties here, 200,000 Filipinos and about 100,000-120,000 Westerners.

For India, the new-found friend is seen as a possible platform to gain greater access to global trade.

On the other hand, Singapore is relying on India and its vast resources as an economic lift-up. Besides, it could be a useful balance to China's rising power.

The more frequent air links to India come at a time when Singapore's maturing economy has slowed significantly. It is a far cry from the golden era when growth averaged 8% a year (1965-2006).

By 2012, the economy grew by a mere 1.3% and the forecast this year is between 1% and 3%.

For the people of this city, weighed down by rising cost of living and stagnant salaries, the immediate prospect for a better life is not very visible.

Several Cabinet ministers have been talking down the prospects of higher education in getting a job – an indication the future employment market isn't too rosy for graduates and the broad middle class.

All this has forced the government to turn more to the outside world, especially China and India, for solutions.

The welcome mat was brought out since 2006 for talented and semi-skilled Indians in numbers large enough to pose a threat to local job-seekers.

It has since reduced admission but resentment from Singaporeans – including local Indians – remains deep and widespread.

To attract talents, the authorities have done everything possible to make their life pleasant. Thousands of scholarships were handed to Indian students much to the dismay of many local taxpayers.

For example, Starhub, the biggest cable television station now operates nine Hindi channels for them, compared to only four Tamil ones mainly for Singaporean Indians.

Bollywood films have received endorsement from political leaders; state radio features three hours of its dance music a day. A special studio that teaches Bollywood dancing has been opened.

A rising number of India's wealthy has bought properties along Singapore's pleasant west coast. In some parks, one can see – not locals kicking football – but Indian kids playing cricket.

Little India remains a strong magnet for the settlers with its large array of restaurants and shops selling sarees and spices.

Many of the newcomers are well-educated and work in fields like finance and IT. The lower skilled toil in construction sites, garbage collection or jobs shunned by locals.

But the bigger progress is in business and political ties. India's External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid said the two countries are now working on the security architecture.

"Singapore and India have crucial stakes in shielding their common sea-lanes of communication, combating piracy and narcotics trade, curbing gunrunning, and preventing maritime terrorism," he said.

The island state has become the second largest foreign investor in India, having put in US$21.3bil (RM68.1bil), while Indian investment in Singapore has reached US$25.7bil (RM82.2bil).

More than 4,500 Indian-owned companies operate out of Singapore, making them the largest business community here.

Some 100 major Indian corporations have set up their Asian headquarters in the city state.

Despite its rapid expansion here, India is unlikely to replace China or Malaysia (let alone the United States and Japan) in economic importance anytime soon.

The government is keen to push ahead with its immigration strategy to make up for its shortage of babies and an ageing population, although at a slower pace.

Earlier this year, former president S.R. Nathan said the city state is set to become a hub for the Indian diaspora.

But the future shape of importing Indian and other ethnic professionals and middle managers depends on two things: firstly, the government's ability to manage over-crowdedness and look after the interests of Singaporeans.

Secondly, a willingness of Singaporean voters – especially the expanding younger generation – who now feel they will lose out.

Any forceful disregard could either overturn the immigration cart – or the ruling party itself.


Umno election Oct 5

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 03:15 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Umno will hold its Supreme Council elections on Oct 5, simultaneously with the divisional delegates meetings nationwide, party president Najib Tun Razak announced yesterday.

He also said that the party's 2013 general assembly would be held over six
days from Dec 2.

The national-level elections for the Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno wings would be held on Sept 28, he said after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council, here.

Najib, who is the prime minister, said party members who wanted to contest posts in the supreme council, divisions and wings could register as candidates on Sept 7 with the state Umno liaison committees.

This is the first time that Umno will be enforcing amended provisions of the party constitution that enables about 150,000 grassroots members to elect the top leadership, and not restricting the elections to about 2,600 assembly delegates as was the practice up to now.

Najib said he hoped that the amended provisions of the party constitution would enable members to elect leaders who could place the party on a stronger foundation.

"We hope that the elected leaders are acceptable to the party and the people … we want leaders who are successful not only in the party but also in the general election as well.

"We hope that Umno can be accepted as the party of choice of the people. It is for this reason that we have to field leaders acceptable to the people and able to reflect a positive image," he said.

Najib also announced that the total number of Umno members as of now was about 3.4 million.

The number included new members totalling 113,959 as of July 22, making up ordinary members (9,043), Wanita Umno members (17,841), Umno Youth members (48,867) and Puteri Umno members (38,208), he said.

Six new state chiefs

Following the meeting, Najib also announced  the appointment of six new state chiefs for the party.

They are Shahidan Kassim (Perlis), Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir (Kedah), Noh Omar (Selangor), Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (Federal Territories), Idris Haron (Melaka) and Mohd Khaled Nordin (Johor).

State chiefs who were retained are Mustapa Mohamed (Kelantan), Ahmad Said (Terengganu), Zainal Abidin Osman (Penang) and Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (Perak), Adnan Yaakob (Pahang), Mohamad Hasan (Negeri Sembilan)
and Musa Aman (Sabah).

Najib also announced the the deputy state chiefs as follows:

  • Perlis – Azlan Man
  • Kedah – Datuk Paduka Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah
  • Kelantan – Datuk Awang Adek Hussin
  • Terengganu – Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh
  • Penang – Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya
  • Perak – Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah
  • Pahang – Datuk Mohd Shakar Shamsudin
  • Selangor – Abdul Shukor Idrus
  • Federal Territories – Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin
  • Negeri Sembilan – Datuk Shaziman Mansor
  • Melaka – Datuk Wira Ahmad Hamzah
  • Johor – Datuk Seri Dr Latif Ahmad
  • Sabah – Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak

Najib said Umno's Supreme Council also agreed that the management of the  Sungai Petani and Padang Serai divisions in Kedah be returned to the respective divisions.

This followed the Kedah Umno Liaison Committee requesting that Sungai Petani division head Ali Yahya and Padang Serai acting division head Halim Hassan be entrusted the responsibility.

The Sungai Petani division became embroiled in problems since 2010 while Padang Serai beginning early last year, which forced their management to be taken over by the state party headquarters.


Malaysia antara negara berdepan hutang isi rumah meningkat

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 03:11 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Malaysia antara negara yang berhadapan dengan masalah hutang isi rumah yang meningkat berikutan sikap berbelanja rakyat negara ini yang tidak terkawal, kata Timbalan Menteri Kewangan Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

"Hutang isi rumah negara kita adalah tinggi berbanding negara jiran yang berhampiran. Ini kerana ramai pengguna yang berhutang dengan membuat pelbagai pinjaman antaranya pinjaman kad kredit, hutang peribadi dan sebagainya.

"Sebagai contoh hutang peribadi yang tidak terkawal boleh menyebabkan seseorang menjadi boros dalam berbelanja serta berbelanja melebihi batasan kemampuan pendapatan," katanya ketika ditemui pemberita selepas merasmikan majlis Tamu Yok Sahur Ramadan dan penyerahan sumbangan kepada anak-anak yatim kali ke-6 di perkarangan Jalan Masjid India, di sini, awal hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian sebagai menjawab pertanyaan pemberita mengenai pengguna yang berbelanja berlebihan di bulan Ramadan sehingga menyebabkan pembaziran dan masalah hutang.

Ahmad berkata berbelanja itu baik untuk ekonomi peniaga dan negara, tetapi perbelanjaan yang berlebihan tidak elok untuk semua pihak terutama kepada pengguna itu sendiri.

Katanya cara untuk mengelakkannya adalah berbelanja mengikut kemampuan pendapatan dan berjimat-cermat.

Pada majlis itu, beliau menyampaikan sumbangan duit raya dan makanan kepada 80 orang anak yatim sekitar Lembah Klang.

Majlis anjuran Astro dan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) iaitu diadakan dengan kerjasama Pertubuhan Kebajikan Insaniah Srikandi Malaysia (Srikandi Malaysia).

Turut hadir di majlis itu ialah Presiden Srikandi Malaysia Norashikin Abdul Ghani disertai beberapa artis antaranya pelakon Sazzy Falak dan penyanyi Awi Rafael.


Social media impact can be merciless

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 02:56 PM PDT

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan meeting parents and teachers at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh on Wednesday.

THE wild world of social media is not discriminating and its impact can be merciless. As users, we have benefited a lot from it in much of everything we do today.

Nuraina Samad, NST

There are the pluses and minuses, but what is clear is that the impact it has on intended or unwitting victims in content that go viral can be devastating.

Take the furore over reports last week of non-Muslim pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh being made to have their meals in what was initially alleged to be a toilet. (It turned out that it was the school's changing room).

We see the real-time explosion of the story and picture of the pupils in social media and immediate responses that you believe to be doing something good. You know people care for the kids.

The problem is that this kind of thing can get out of hand because the spread is unstoppable and because not everyone is sincere in expressing their concern. Even though clarifications have been made.

When I read about these kids having their meals during recess in a toilet during Ramadan, I was naturally appalled. But I wanted to know more, whether it was true or exaggerated.

The picture had obviously been uploaded by someone from the school or a parent. Still, it showed what it was meant to show.

The responses from people showed utter dismay, anger and shock and directed at, who else, school headmaster Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor. And rightly so especially when that was all they knew -- children eating in the toilet during Ramadan.

It was a story you could not miss. Dozens of your friends on Facebook uploaded the image and so many of your twitter friends re-tweeted the story.

You just could not turn the other way. And you would not want to. It is about school kids and mistreatment during Ramadan, for heaven's sake.

The media descended on the school. So did Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan who wanted to see the situation for himself.

But that was not before the 57-year-old headmaster issued an apology and a clarification in social media that it was not a toilet but a clean changing room that had no toilet cubicles inside but sinks for the children and changing cubicles.

The headmaster said the canteen was closed as it was under repair and that the room had been in use for meals not only by non-Muslim pupils but Muslim pupils as well as the staff and teachers. It had been used as a "sub-canteen" since March.

He also said the school had about 1,300 pupils but the canteen could only accommodate 500 pupils.

You may choose to believe him or not. But you see, it is not true that the children had been having their recess in the toilet. No matter what some people want to believe, it is not a toilet. It is a changing room.

Ask the deputy minister and the media. Kamalanathan understood the situation and was convinced that Nasir had the children's wellbeing at heart although he felt that using the changing room was a "misguided decision".

So the story that originated from social media with some wrong facts got mainstream media treatment to set the record straight. Still, it got the school and the headmaster some unwarranted attention.

In social media, the responses seem endless with some going overboard, bringing in race, religion and naturally, politics.

By then, you would have thought that people would have ignored the initial misleading report. But no, they were still crucifying him and calling for his sacking.

Some people were still dissatisfied with Nasir's explanation saying that using the changing room which is next to a toilet, for the children to have meals was unacceptable.

In my humble opinion, it is acceptable if no other decent space is available and I believe Nasir, the school and the parent-teacher association had good intentions.

Unfortunately, that unwarranted attention has sparked some unpleasantness -- a group of very angry people hurled abuses at Nasir and the school. Also, Nasir reported that he received a death threat. So did the parent who uploaded the picture.

The Seri Pristana story may have provoked some unpleasant responses but it highlighted the fact that the school needed a bigger canteen to better serve the pupils.

Stories such as this will continue to be circulated by netizens and we will continue to have this love-hate relationship with this wild and crazy social media. Devastating effects or not, it is here to stay. And the good thing is that we have learned to live with and revel in it.


MCA gears up for another battle

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 02:51 PM PDT

DATUK Seri Liow Tiong Lai could not contain his emotions when asked about his party's fate following its dismal performance in the May national polls.

Zubaidah Abu Bakar, NST

The deputy MCA chief turned away from the reporters waiting for his comments, but they could see tears well up in his eyes when he turned around minutes later.

Liow had earlier admitted that MCA's losses were a big blow to the 64-year-old party, and that it would be a big challenge to regain the support of the Chinese community.

"I pray the party can overcome the challenge. I believe we can go through the challenge...I really hope we can be united," he said, his voice choking, and then turned his back.

This incident happened two days after the polls, after Liow and Barisan Nasional members of parliament had a special meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Parliament.

MCA only won seven parliamentary seats out of 37 and 11 state seats out of 90 it contested. They fared worse than in 2008, where it won 15 parliamentary seats out of 40 and 32 state seats out of 90 it contested.

Now Liow is asking party members for a chance to lead MCA and regain the support of the Chinese community, offering himself as MCA's new president at the December party polls.

He is said to have the support of current and past leaders, as well as some party divisions. The most recent on Wednesday came from MCA divisions in Selayang, Kuala Selangor, Subang and Serdang.

"What is important is that party grassroots support and welcome Liow's candidacy. There is now some light at the end of the tunnel for MCA," says a party divisional leader from Ipoh who requested anonymity.

Altough Liow is thus far alone in declaring his intention at the party polls, the contest for MCA's presidency is shaping up to be a multi-cornered one.

"Many people think nobody wants the presidency but in fact, many want to be the MCA president because MCA as a business has assets worth several billions" says Monash University political scientist Prof James Chin, who is also Senior Visiting Research Fellow of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

And although MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has said he is not defending his post, party insiders and MCA watchers do not expect him to support the candidacy of his second-in-command Liow.

"I believe Dr Chua may decide to go for another term; he still has the support of some 90 per cent of the voting delegates," says an insider who claims the party president is unhappy with the manner Liow was campaigning for the position.

Liow had said that he decided to contest the president's post after interacting with grassroots members during a nationwide tour intended to get feedback on MCA's transformation.

Grassroots members had attacked the MCA leadership at some of these meetings, and the story goes that a very unhappy Dr Chua blurted out against his deputy after a function in Kuala Lumpur.

"I appointed Liow to head the MCA Transformation Taskforce. His duty is to hold nationwide roadshows and listen to grassroots...and not to make it a platform for leaders to kill each other," he was reported as saying.

The grapevine has it that Dr Chua is still interested to keep his post and is looking for a running mate. Another possibility, should he not defend his post, is a proxy fight via a young candidate without much baggage and enemies within the party nominated to challenge Liow.

Dr Chua is a seasoned politician and strategist. In the 2010 MCA elections, he was the first challenger to win against both incumbent and former party presidents in a three-cornered contest.

Dr Chua had polled 901 votes ahead of former president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting who polled 833 votes and then president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat to become MCA's 10th president.

Speaking of running mate, who will Liow's be? Some members say it's a toss between party youth chief Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and central committee member Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.

Others also think Tee Keat might make a comeback since he still enjoys the support of members who look up to him as a leader who is brave to speak out in defence of the community.

Does Liow command support of the 2,500 delegates to the December assembly? It's hard to say, but the guest list at the wedding reception of former deputy president Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy's son in Kuala Lumpur recently has been the talk of the town as a show of Liow's strength.

Some big names in MCA -- Dr Chua and Tee Keat, among them -- were reportedly not invited to the event.

Party elections are months away, but in politics even a single day is considered very long. Expect to see more developments in the days ahead.


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