EVER since the MCA assembly voted in Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as president, but sprang a surprise by choosing Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek as his deputy, sceptics have been quick to point out that the bad blood between the two men was so thick and their political interests so disparate that it was doubtful whether bridges could be built between them. Indeed, speculation of a split between the pair intensified when Dr Chua, the former Johor MCA chief, was not appointed to any party position in his own state and instead assigned to head a minor bureau in the party. Lately, the rumour mill has been working overtime with talk of plans for an extraordinary general meeting to drive the party president from office. Despite both leaders insisting barely two weeks ago that reports of a feud between them have been overplayed, few believed that all was well.
With MCA set to hold a big bash on Sunday to celebrate 60 years of its founding, the infighting could not have come at a worse time. It would be damaging not only to MCA but also to its partners in Barisan Nasional for its top leaders to continue to bash each other. With by-elections round the corner, lost political ground to make up, and vital political and economic issues to attend to, the contending factions should remember they are on the same team and have a common cause. Last October, the delegates forgave Dr Chua for his indiscretions. Former vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng and Ong have kissed and made up. Now that both sides have made their points, it is time to rise above the personal and political differences, strike a compromise and work together to strengthen party unity, revitalise MCA and recover the support of the Chinese community.