KUALA LUMPUR: This is not the time for MCA to go into property development when the party is fighting to stay afloat, says former party president Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek (pic).
Referring to plans by the incumbent leadership to develop the party’s 23-storey Wisma MCA at the central business district here into a 71-storey skyscraper, he pointed out that the building is MCA’s flagship.
Built by party money and donations and opened by then president Tan Sri Lee San Choon in 1981, the party almost lost Wisma MCA to a bank when it went into a financial crisis several years later.
Dr Chua said there was a fundraising initiated by then president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik to save Wisma MCA, which saw members donating RM100 each.
“I also donated RM100. Wisma MCA belongs to the grassroots and all of us have an emotional attachment to it.
“You must get feedback and approval from all your members first before you even think of redeveloping it,” he told a press conference yesterday.
A group of party veterans held a press conference on Oct 15, saying that many of the party’s central committee members were in the dark over the proposal.
One of the veterans, lawyer Datuk Theng Book, cited a development order that he had obtained, saying the plan included upgrading the present Wisma MCA into a skyscraper, comprising among others, 27 storeys of office space and a 24-storey hotel.
Outgoing MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai responded immediately, saying that the redevelopment idea was mooted way back when Dr Chua was president (2010-2013).
Yesterday, Dr Chua said: “I only talked about renovating the San Choon Hall in Wisma MCA to accommodate the rising number of central delegates at the annual general assembly. This is not tearing down Wisma MCA.”
Dr Chua said the party, badly defeated in the 14th General Election, was in urgent need of a change, and that the coming party polls is the “starting point”.
“We must vote in a new leadership that is capable and brave to lead and give the party a new lease of life,” he said.
The GE14 saw Barisan Nasional lose federal power for the first time since independence.
MCA, as a component party, won only one parliamentary seat and two state seats.
The 69-year-old MCA, which saw a gradual drop in performance from a total of 107 seats in GE11, GE12 (46), GE13 (18) to just three seats in the May 9 polls, is seen as being at a crossroads.
This Sunday, party incumbent deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong will be going for the presidency in a three-cornered fight with Kluang MCA division chief Gan Ping Sieu and Bruas MCA Youth chief Ngoo Teck Keong.
It is a straight fight between Johor MCA deputy chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong and Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon for the deputy president’s post.
MCA Youth legal bureau chief Ng Kian Nam will lock horns with Youth vice-chairman Nicole Wong Siaw Ting for the wing’s number one post on Saturday.
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