KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 – Ahead of MCA’s December polls, a businessman has disclosed that he had once helped its leadership churn out tens of thousands of “phantom” members for the Barisan Nasional (BN) component – casting the validity of the party’s registry into doubt.
Vincent Ng had taken to his Facebook page yesterday where he announced he had headed one of the “factories” to create fictitious members after he joined Kuala Lumpur Industries Holdings (KLIH)’s subsidiary company, The People’s Insurance in the 1990s.
In an interview with the vernacular Sin Chew Daily published today, Ng said the move was an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the party polls.
“Under the big boss’ instruction, the Chief Executive Office of The People’s Insurance wanted me to to perform a mysterious task, namely to assist the MCA to recruit new members.
“With the help of a manager of the People’s Insurance, I initiated a ‘MCA phantom member manufacturer’ and created tens of thousands of phantom members for the MCA,” Ng was quoted as saying on his Facebook by the Chinese-language paper in its front-page report today.
Sin Chew reported Ng as saying that the mass-produced phantom members were used to boost the numbers of new party divisions and the size of existing divisions.
The artificial boosting of membership numbers could then be translated into increased numbers of representatives from the affected divisions with the power to vote in party polls, the paper reported.
Ng told Sin Chew he was required to provide a list of between 1,000 to 2,000 new members each month.
He claimed in his Facebook post that the names of Chinese clients who were buying motor insurance would be entered covertly into MCA’s membership registry, replacing the names of existing members.
The photocopied identity cards of these phantom members would then submitted with MCA membership forms, with the division column in the form left blank, he said.
Although these phantom members were registered as party members without their knowledge, their membership remain valid, Ng told Sin Chew.
Ng did not name the individual who had given him the orders, but the former staff of China Press pointed at two senior MCA leaders as having allegedly approved the registration of the phantom members.
In another Facebook post, he named them as the then MCA secretary general Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh and then party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
Ng told Sin Chew that the alleged exercise was carried out when former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was the MCA president, namely during the 1996-1998 period.
But Sin Chew reported Dr Ling as saying that he did not think there were phantom members when he was helming MCA.
When asked if any party members had complained about the alleged existence of phantom voters, Dr Ling reportedly said he did not remember.
Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, who was then an MCA deputy president, also denied the allegation made by Ng.
“Although in the past there were incidents of phantom party members, but there were no issues of phantom members in the period from 1996 to 1998,” Lim was quoted saying by Sin Chew.
The paper noted that MCA’s membership had jumped by 250,000 people in just three years’ time, with the party having about 580,000 members in 1996 and 830,000 members in 1999.
The number of party delegates had similarly climbed from 2,502 in 1996 to 3,500 in 1999, but an amendment to MCA’s constitution to keep the numbers within 2,500 later saw the 1999 figure being cut down to 2,411 individuals.
On his Facebook post, Ng denied that he was an MCA member, but described himself in a separate post as a leader within Kuala Lumpur’s Chinese community.
In a separate post, Ng also said that he had spoken out in the hope that MCA would conduct an exercise to re-register its members.
The businessman’s allegations comes amid MCA’s efforts to reform the party after it lost support from the Chinese community, its traditional support base, in the 13th general elections.
In this year’s May 5 national polls, MCA had only managed to win seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, compared to its 2008 haul of 15 federal seats and 31 state seats.