Michael Chong of Penang among Barisan’s new faces


  • Letters
  • Sunday, 29 Feb 2004

OOI Chuan Aik is said to be on his way to becoming the Michael Chong of Penang. 

He has the sort of boy-next-door looks and the personality to match.  

He is also among the new faces likely to be fielded by the Barisan Nasional in the coming general election. 

Ooi, 41, is head of the Penang MCA’s Public Complaints Bureau and is speculated to contest a state seat in Sebarang Prai. He is also the state MCA Youth head. 

Ooi: Penang MCA's Public Complaints Bureau chief.

Ooi counts former Penang MCA chairman Sri Dr Sak Cheng Lum as his mentor. 

The TAR College graduate was the executive secretary at the MCA headquarters before he left to work as a special assistant for Dr Sak. 

“I learnt a lot from Dr Sak. He is always approachable and I like the way he tackled problems and people. He is cool and patient, and never loses his temper.” 

Ooi, if selected, comes with sound experience and credentials. 

On the Umno side, Datuk Jalil Abdul Majid, 49, is slated to contest one of the hottest seats in the election –Permatang Pauh. 

The town planner-turned-property consultant and developer is the pro-tem chairman of Permatang Pauh and has, as he put it, has “six children and one wife.” 

“There has been a change in mood in Permatang Pauh,” Jalil said. 

Gerakan may eventually come up with the most number of new faces. 

The party may have seven vacant slots to fill with fresh names – three from the seats it lost in 1999, two which were made available when its assemblymen joined the MCA and two of the newly created seats. 

One hopeful is Ong Thean Lye, a former Gold Medallist graduate from USM who has been assisting Jelutong MP Lee Kah Choon. 

Ong has learnt well and fast from Lee, a first-term MP who is often held up as a model wakil rakyat. 

Jalil: Slated for the hot seat of Permatang Pauh.

Lee, a British-trained lawyer, toppled the “Lion of Jelutong” Karpal Singh in one of the biggest upsets in 1999. Since then, he has acquired a reputation as a legislator and grassroots politician who has coped well with the complexities of a constituency undergoing rapid change.  

Other hopefuls include lawyer Mark Ooi, engineer-turned contractor Quah Kooi Heong, political aide Wong Mun Hoe and state Gerakan Youth head Huan Cheng Guan. 

Huan has a controversial past. He once threatened to burn The Star over an advertisement which he objected to. 

Parti Keadilan Nasional is eyeing the new parliamentary seat of Bukit Gelugor for its deputy state chairman and lawyer Cheah Kah Peng, 38. 

The DAP, in a departure from tradition has begun introducing some of its potential new faces to the areas where they are likely to contest. 

They are all men because the party has been unsuccessful at recruiting women candidates. 

They include chartered accountant Tan Hun Wooi, 33, whose introduction to the hustings began as a teenager when he helped campaign for his father, former Batu Lanchang assemblyman Tan Loo Jit. 

The senior Tan’s advice to his son: “Be humble and serve the people.” 

Other new faces include lawyer Yeoh Soon Hin, 28, and restaurant owner Teh Yee Cheu, 46. The latter has been getting wide coverage in the Chinese papers for his role in advocating local issues.  

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