KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek announced today that the MCA’s final candidates list for the coming polls is ready and features some surprising choices.
The party president, who recently told The Malaysian Insider that at least a third of the MCA’s current lawmakers would be dropped and replaced by fresh faces, told reporters here that there would be some “dark horse” candidates in addition to “white horse” ones.
However, he refused to reveal more, saying “it’s not the right time”.
In an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider last month, Dr Chua (picture) expressed confidence that the party would gain more than the 15 federal seats it kept in Election 2008, explaining that some 30 or 40 per cent of the party’s incumbents have already been asked to skip the coming polls.
He stressed that it was imperative for the party to get rid of underperformers and field new faces, pointing out that a more discerning Chinese electorate now paid greater attention to the quality of candidates, apart from the party they represented.
“I’ve already said within the party, there is no such thing as bargaining,” the former health minister had said.
“It’s not to say the old ones are being forced to go. They are told politely that they have to give way to the younger ones.”
The MCA suffered its worst electoral defeat in 2008 when its Parliament representation was slashed by half, from 31 seats to just 15.
It performed no better in the statewide polls, clinching just 31 seats. In Perak, the party’s representation dwindled to just one state assembly seat.
Barisan Nasional (BN) and the MCA also noticeably failed to clinch the Chinese vote in the series of by-elections held after Election 2008.
In the Sarawak state election last year, the Chinese community flooded the ballot boxes with votes for the opposition, resulting in the DAP trouncing BN in 12 out of 15 seats the opposition party contested.