Soi Lek stays silent as party roiled by sacking of former port chief

MCA president zips lips as party rocked by sacking of former port chief.
MCA president zips lips as party rocked by sacking of former port chief.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek refused last night to confirm or deny reports that former port boss Datuk Lee Hwa Beng had been sacked from MCA for inviting DAP political foe Lim Kit Siang to the launch of his whistleblowing book on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

Last night the MCA president ran the gauntlet of reporters who had door-stopped him after an event in Petaling Jaya, and stayed silent amid a barrage of questions thrown at him over the reported sacking of Lee.

Lee, who was last week elected to be a national delegate to the Chinese party’s polls later this year, had taken to Twitter to broadcast his sacking earlier yesterday afternoon while the MCA central committee was holding a news conference.

“Just heard @drchuaSL just sacked me as an MCA member. Am honored as he see me as a threat once I was voted in as a national delegate,” the former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman wrote on his Twitter account @hwabeng.

“Was told I was sacked as MCA member 4 inviting @limkitsiang 2 launch my PKFZ bk.But why now?Must b when I was elected a nat delegate last wk,” he added in a series of tweets in reply to a bombardment of questions.

However, when contacted by The Malay Mail Online over the phone, Lee said there was “no letter, no notice” informing him of the sacking.

He declined to comment further until he found out the reason behind his sacking from the political party.

Lee has said he will speak further on the matter and has called for a news conference later today at the Lakeview Club in Subang Jaya.

Former party boss Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, who helmed the Chinese party from October 2008 to March 2010, suggested that the purported reason for booting out Lee was too weak and unjustifiable as the MCA’s constitution did not provide for such action even on ostensibly disciplinary grounds.

He added that he had faced similar discrimination from party members in the run-up to Malaysia’s 13th general elections (GE) for being seen in the company of DAP adviser, Lim Kit Siang.

“In the case of the invitation of Kit Siang, I was given to understand that in fact the host had made the arrangement,” Ong told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Ong, who was formerly Pandan MP, had attended the launch of Lee’s whistleblowing book on the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed, last year—an event that was also attended by DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang.

Lee, the former Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman, had co-authored a book with former journalist Lee Siew Lian detailing his experiences in uncovering alleged misdeeds in the PKFZ project.

Two former MCA presidents - Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy - have been charged in court over their alleged roles in the scandal.

Dr Chua has said he will not seek re-election to the presidential post in the party polls later this year, but  remains under intense pressure following MCA’s dismal performance in the last elections.

He is currently seen as being embroiled in a major tussle with his deputy Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai for control of the party.

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