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Thursday January 3, 2008

‘People wanted me to quit’

Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek resigns
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Question & Answer Session Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek
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MCA leadership accepts Dr Chua's resignation
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PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek quit all his government and political posts because Malaysians wanted him to do so after he admitted being the man in the sex DVD. 

“Well, after I made the confession, I hoped Malaysians would be able to accept my apology. But unfortunately, based on the feedback that I have received, I observed that Malaysians were unable to do that,” he a told a press conference yesterday. 

Dr Chua said his resignation as Health Minister, Labis MP, MCA vice-president, Johor MCA state liaison chairman and Batu Pahat MCA division chief took effect immediately. 

I resign: Dr Chua announcing his resignation during a press conference in Putrajaya o Wednesday.
Excerpts from the press conference:  


With this, I would like to announce that I have conveyed my intention to the Honourable Prime Minister, the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and also to the Yang Berhormat MCA president that I am resigning as Health Minister immediately. With that, I also resign from my posts as Labis MP, MCA vice president, Johor MCA state liaison chairman and Batu Pahat division chief.  

This will take effect with the letter that I have handed over to the Prime Minister’s Department. However, I will continue to support the leadership of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.  

Even though I do not hold posts from today, I will continue to be with my fellow comrades in MCA. As a member who has held government posts for almost 20 years, I will continue to support the Barisan Nasional government.  


Q: Datuk Seri, why did you change your mind after 24 hours?  

A: Well, after I made the confession, I hoped Malaysians would be able to accept my apology. But unfortunately, based on the feedback that I have received, I observed that Malaysians were unable to do that. Some Malaysians can be said to be “holier than thou”. This means they are all ulama (religious teachers). So, I think if I continue to hold positions in the party or Government, this will be a burden to the Government and party, especially in the context of Islam Hadhari. And also in the context of what has been recommended by my president, which is healthy political culture.  

However, I hope my resignation, which is based supposedly on moral issues, will be a lesson to other leaders, whether from the MCA or any other component party. I think anyone who has made a mistake or has certain weaknesses, then he has to be responsible as a leader. 

And I have already stepped forward in front of not only the leaders of the country and party but the people. And it looks like it cannot be accepted. So, I think it is better for my family and I that I resign so that I will not be a burden to the country’s leadership. 

Q: Will this matter severely affect the support from the Chinese community for Barisan?  

A: No. I thought a lot of people think I am a baggage to carry because they want to behave like “holier than thou”. Maybe the support will increase.  

Q: Why is that so?  

A: Because then they think all they have in the Government are all very clean. 

Q: When did you send in your letter?  

A: I have already sent it before I see you people. 

Q: What about the timing?  

A: I think the timing is not important. The important thing is that I make the official announcement in front of all of you. The letter to the Prime Minister has been sent and is finding its way to the Prime Minister’s office. In this context, I also want to thank MCA members and supporters and also the MCA leaders who have given their support and cooperation to me all this time since I became wakil rakyat in 1986. And also as Health Minister, I want to thank and extend my appreciation to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and also the Barisan Nasional leadership in the Cabinet, who have supported and co-operated with me. 

So, beginning today, I am a regular citizen and with that, I hope I will not be a target by certain parties.  

The Prime Minister has assured that the Government will investigate the source and who is behind the tape so that it does not become a practice to cause the downfall of anyone.  

I am not the first and I will not be the last to become the victim in this way to bring a leader down whether at state or national level. I am sure I will not be the first and I will not be the last.  

Q: Was the decision to quit made based on the input from these “holier than thou” people or was it also on the advice from other people?  

A: Well, I think the Malaysians.  

They say you wear a mask to go to work. That is not what I say. That is what Shakespeare said.  

Q: So, it was solely your decision?  

A: Yes. Because I cannot have an image that I am holier than thou. Whatever the decision I make, it will always be subjected to scrutiny.  

Q: When did you decide?  

A: Just now. This morning. After I announced it, I thought the results would be good. But Astro reports that 91% want me to resign. China Press says 99% wants me to resign. So, it is better that I resign.  

Q: Is the resignation because the response was not as you expected?  

A: I thought it would be a bold move. Because my character is that I dare to fight, I dare to say and I dare to bear responsibility to the people. Some people said I should deny it. That I did not do it. But it has affected the party and the Government, that is why I chose to admit. But it seems honesty does not always pay. The people still cannot accept it.  

Q: Do you think the moral judgement was too strict?  

A: It does not guarantee anything. Some people are lucky not to get caught.  


Q: Was it politically motivated?  

A: I have said before I would not like to speculate. I have received no less than 200 SMSes condemning certain party leaders of which I will not go into it. Because the moment I go into it, I do not like to see my party split. And I hope the party leadership under YB Ong Ka Ting, who I am sure if he is practising real healthy political culture, will look into this. Healthy political culture embraces no corruption, no moral lapses of judgement. A healthy political culture should not just be confined to just term of office. That is easy. Anyone can fulfil it. The terms of office are the easiest to fulfil. Three terms, two terms. Healthy political culture is good but it should be all embracing and not just term of office. What is more important and what is hoped for and demanded by Malaysians is to be clean from the aspect of no corruption and also in the question of no moral and ethical weaknesses. To me, this is more important and more difficult to achieve.  

Q: What about the woman in the video?  

A: I think that is not important. I should not be discussing my private life. If you are interested, maybe you should see the tape together with me. Okay? Would you like to see the tape with me?  

Q: Do you think it was probably political sabotage?  

A: I have been in politics for more than 20 years. I do not participate in any business activities. I do not think any business people have anything against me. I do not think it is about money because I did not receive any calls of blackmail.  

Q: Maybe it was planned, Datuk Seri?  

A: I have said that I do not want to make speculations. And I implore MCA members not to speculate on who did this to me. It is not a healthy political culture. 


Q: What was the response of the party president when you resigned?  

A: As party president, of course he wants to see the party united. He wants to see everybody give the party and Barisan Nasional 100% support. But there are times, in a democratic country, when even the president and Prime Minister are constrained and there are limitations – because it is the rakyat that is supreme.  


Q: Is your family aware of your decision to quit?  

A: I just informed them. That is why my son got a shock – because I thank my family. You all must understand that I live in a very closely-knit family. When I was a doctor and exco member, I stayed with my father. And my children stayed with my grandfather and me. Today, my children stay with me and my grandson also stays with me. My family is a big family in that sense. My two sons and daughter stay in the house. And my grandson also stays together. So, I am confident that my family supports me because of the strong family cohesion that we have.  

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