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ARKIB : 10/03/2004

MCA candidates represent a united team, says ONG

KUALA LUMPUR March 10 - The MCA candidates to be fielded to contest 40 parliamentary and 90 state seats in the forthcoming 11th General Election represent a "united team", party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said Wednesday.

"I have chosen the right and suitable candidates irrespective of which side they were in," he said in apparent reference to the split in the party leadership and ranks, into Team A and Team B, which has now been resolved.

"I must say today, I am happy... MCA has no more team A and B but one team," he told reporters after briefing party candidates and charimen of MCA election operation rooms here.

Ong declined to reveal the list of candidates, saying that it would be officially announced Thursday by all the Barisan Nasional state chairmen.

However, he confirmed that all incumbent MCA ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries would be renominated. The Election Commission has fixed nomination day for Saturday.

Ong said that 30 percent of the 130 candidates contesting the parliamentary and state seats were new faces including those representing the MCA Youth and Wanita MCA.

Among the new faces who attended the briefing were Bukit Bintang Wanita chief Tan Chew Mooi, touted to stand in the parliamentary constituency, and Gan Tian Loo, who is replacing his father, Datuk Gan Boon Leong, in the Duyong state constituency in Melaka.

Ong also said that the party had been given an extra five parliamentary and 13 state seats following the redelineation exercise conducted by the EC. However, he did not elaborate.

In the 1999 General Election, the party was allocated 35 parliamentary and 77 state seats.

Describing the party candidates as a balanced and a good team with a mixed group of young and old and senior and junior party members, Ong said that all the candidates were expected to work hard and be sincere and honest in carrying out their duties.

"(They must be) sincere and honest with the voters, and tell them what we can do and don't make empty promises," he said.

Ong said that the party would also expose to the public the opposition tactics of switching from one parliamentary or state seat to another in every election without really serving their voters.

Touching on whether the MCA would continue to get good support from the Chinese community based on the 1999 general election results, Ong said:

"We will not take things for granted and will work hard to continue to ensure the Chinese community understands the party's achievement, vision and intention and will bring more development and assist the people more effectively."

"The MCA will not be complacent and all its candidates will work hard, and will put up good teamwork. This is in line with what the young generation wants.

"That is a more forthcoming, concrete and convincing candidates, rather than singing old tunes," he said.

Ong said that the young voters want to see the new leadership under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bringing the country to greater heights and "this is the time we need constructive political representatives."

"We need a party like Barisan Nasional (BN) which will take care of the multiracial society's needs and the BN is a visionary party, and we are for the people and we will stand by the people and hope we will get the support of the people," he said.

The MCA cabinet ministers are Ong (Housing and Local Government), who is the incumbent in the Pontian parliamentary constituency, Chan (Transport) (Selayang), Datuk Wira Dr Fong Chan Onn (Human Resources) (Selandar) and Datuk Chua Jui Meng (Health) (Bakri).

The deputy ministers are Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen (Finance) (Raub), Datuk Tan Chai Ho (Energy, Communications and Multimedia) (Bandar Tun Razak), Datuk Fu Ah Kiow (Culture, Arts and Tourism) (Mentakab), Datuk Ong Tee Keat (Youth and Sports) (Ampang Jaya), Datuk Hon Choon Kim (Education) (Seremban), Datuk Chor Chee Heung (Home Affairs) (Alor Setar) and Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai (Information) (Petaling Jaya Selatan).

The two parliamentary secretaries are Wong Kam Hoong (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs) (Bayan Baru) and Datuk Ho Cheong Sing (International Trade and Industry) (Ipoh Barat).

Meanwhile, Dr Ng, the Wanita MCA chief, said that she was thankful to the party leader for giving the extra two parliamentary and three state seats to the movement to contest.

She said that Wanita MCA had been allotted the Gelang Patah (Johor) and Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur) parliamentary seats and the Yong Peng (Johor), Kajang (Selangor) and Sitiawan (Perak) state seats.

In the last general election, Wanita MCA was allocated four parliamentary seats - Raub (Pahang), Padang Serai (Kedah), Kelang and Petaling Jaya Utara (both in Selangor) - and three state seats - Indera Kayangan (Perlis), Jejawi (Penang) and Sitiawan (Perak).

MCA Youth chief Datuk Ong Tee Keat, when met after the briefing, expressed happiness to see a few of the MCA Youth leaders being nominated to contest in the general election for parliamentary and state seats even though the movement had not specified the number of seats they wanted.

Among the candidates are Education Bureau head Dr Wee Ka Siong and one of the two secretaries-general, Loh Seng Kok, who is nominated to contest a parliamentary seat.

Claiming that he had not seen the final list of the MCA candidates, he said: "It's a very good indication that Youth leaders are given the chance to contest in the coming general election." - Bernama

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