BARELY 24 hours after the MCA election, all eyes are now on key appointed posts in the party, especially those of secretary-general, national organising secretary, treasurer-general and the various state chiefs.The appointments for these positions is the prerogrative of the party president and the spotlight will be on Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in the next two weeks.
Soi Lek has got to act fast to fill up the key appointments as prolonged speculation and lobbying for posts will not be good for the party, said a central delegate. All eyes are now on the post of secretary-general, which has been more often than not, a ticket to a Cabinet minister s post.
Immediately after the announcement of the results on Sunday night, speculation was rife that Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who lost in the deputy presidency race, would be the most likely candidate.
The trilingual 60-year-old Kong, who is also the Housing and Local Government Minister, is known to be meticulous in his work.
Apart from being capable, the secretary-general must enjoy the trust of the president, said a senior party leader who feels that the English-educated Dr Chua and Kong could work together. Besides, the Chinese-educated Kong will have an advantage in a party where 80% of its members are Chinese-educated.
During the party elections in 2008, Kong was elected vice-president with the highest votes. Early this month, he resigned together with Dr Chua and seven other central committee members in their team to pave the way for the election which took place last Sunday.
Appointment to the post the third highest in the party hierachy after the president and deputy president would enable the Lumut MP to continue as a minister, although appointment to the Cabinet is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, said a party observer.
In the party election, Kong lost to Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in the fight for the deputy presidency. Kong had 1,106 votes to Liow s 1,171.
Another of Dr Chua s supporters, Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, a newly-elected central committee member, is tipped to be the candidate for the post of national organising secretary. At state-level, speculation is rife as to who their new state chiefs will be. A party insider felt that Dr Chua will continue to helm Johor.
Other potential state chiefs are Kong for Perak, Datuk Seri Tan Chai Ho (Federal Territory), Datuk Donald Lim (Selangor), Datuk Koh Nai Kwong (Malacca), Datuk Edward Khoo (Sabah), Dr Por Choo Chor (Perlis) and Liow (Pahang).
State chairmen are powerful in many ways. Among others, they make recommendations to the president on who to field for the general election. Until the appointments are announced, talk on the potential candidates will continue to take centrestage with the Chinese media having a field day. (THE STAR ONLINE, 30 MARCH 2010)