KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun will start her PhD programme in China's Peking University in September.
The 55-year-old MCA leader said her resignation as the party secretary-general was effective Saturday (July 20).
In a statement Saturday, she thanked MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong for his trust and confidence in appointing her as the secretary-general.
The post is third in the party hierarchy after the president and deputy president and, Chew is also the first female secretary-general in the party's 70-year history.
She also extended her thanks to party comrades for their cooperation and understanding all these years.
Chew has a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Taiwan's National Chengchi University and a Master of Arts in Chinese Studies from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.
She began her political career in 1995 as the private secretary to then Raub MP Teng Gaik Kwan.
Chew's rise in politics started four years later when she won the Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament seat in 1999 and retained the seat in the 2004 general election.
She was a former Wanita MCA chief, former deputy women, family and community development minister and former Senator.
Chew lost to Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the Kajang by-election in 2014 and she also failed in her bid to capture the Raub parliamentary seat in the 14th General Election last year.
Dr Wee thanked Chew for her services to the party on behalf of the MCA central committee.
"As the secretary-general, Mei Fun had been dedicated, cautious and conscientious in going full swing to strategise and push through various party programmes, to ensure the speedy return of MCA which was severely defeated in the last general election, to the right track.
"She always went all out to complete any assignments and missions entrusted upon her, regardless of whether they were within the scope of secretary- general or otherwise.
" We salute her super diligence in striving for perfection," said Dr Wee in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
He said the party accepted her resignation with extreme reluctance and wished her success in her academic pursuit and looked forward to her return to continue serving the party and nation.