KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has clarified that while he planned to contest in Pandan again in the next general election, it remains to be seen if it will be on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket.
The former MCA president pointed out it would be up to BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak to decide if he could contest under the ruling coalition’s banner in the polls, which must be called by April next year.
“What I remarked was I would continue to serve my constituents till the end of my... present term on the BN platform,” he said in a short statement today.
“I uphold the principle that since I was elected on a BN ticket in 2008, it would be grossly irresponsible for me not to serve my entire tenure on the same platform... despite the ordeals I have experienced in my political career.”
Ong also stressed that the platform he would contest on was secondary to his commitment and loyalty to the people, especially the Pandan electorate.
The Malay Mail reported yesterday that the popular Pandan MP had said he had no plans to leave BN and would contest under the ruling coalition as the welfare of his constituents was a key concern.
According to the daily, however, Ong had not confirmed if he would represent MCA or another BN component party in the next general election, the nation’s 13th.
“I am not jumping ship. What ship is there for me to jump into? I will remain with BN,” he was quoted as saying.
“If I move elsewhere, how will I be able to help those in need? It’s best I stay where I am and keep working for the people.”
Ong has been at loggerheads with the current MCA leadership since losing the presidency to Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek during fractious party polls in 2010.
It was even rumoured that the former transport minister would leave MCA to join the opposition’s ranks but Ong has repeatedly dismissed this.
Speculation that he would defect to the opposition was fuelled further when Ong reportedly said he would defend his seat even if MCA drops him as candidate.
This prompted Dr Chua to issue an ultimatum to his predecessor In January to “submit to BN” to stay in Pandan.