KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Nov 2008: Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, in clarifying media reports that he had resigned as Housing and Local Government Minister, said today that he would leave the decision on his status in the cabinet to party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
In a one-page statement, Ka Chuan said that at this juncture, it was best that “we put aside speculation and focus on the work of the MCA and government, particularly when we need to channel our energy and resources in facing the effects of the global economic crisis.”
He said that following the MCA party elections where he was defeated in the race for the MCA deputy presidency, he had had the opportunity of discussing the future developments of the party, including his cabinet position, with Tee Keat.
“Placing the interest of the party and community above myself, I have decided to let Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, as the head of the party, decide what is best for the party and community.
“That should be the paramount concern. Personal position and ambition should not be the criteria of the healthy political culture which the MCA strives for,” he said.
The minister, who had just returned from a conference in Teheran, however, did not confirm nor deny handing over his resignation letter to Tee Keat as reported by the media.
He said there had been much speculation over his position as Housing and Local Government Minister in the media over the past one week.
“I believe when the time comes, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, with the advice and consultation of the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), will make a decision on the various ministerial positions for the MCA in the cabinet,” he added.
Ka Chuan called on the media to let Tee Keat decide on the matter at his own time without any form of pressure.
“On my part, I accept whatever decisions made by the party and government leadership,” he said.
Ka Chuan, the former MCA secretary-general and elder brother of former MCA chief Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, won the Tanjung Malim seat in the 8 March general election.
However, he lost to Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, the former health minister, in the recent MCA elections.
Meanwhile in PUTRAJAYA, the prime minister said today that Ka Chuan is still a member of the cabinet.
Abdullah said he had not received any letter concerning Ka Chuan’s resignation as the Housing and Local Government Minister.
He told reporters after the ground breaking ceremony for the National Defence Studies Centre (Puspahanas), here that Ka Chuan was also present at the cabinet meeting chaired by him today.
Asked whether Tee Keat had discussed the matter with him, Abdullah replied: “He did not.” — Bernama