KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Several MCA leaders expressed surprise today when informed that controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah had quit the Chinese-centric party, saying they did not even know the Muslim convert had been a member.
MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said she has not seen Tee in any MCA event since she joined the party in the 1990s.
“I was not aware that Riduan Tee was one of our MCA members or his even being spotted in any MCA events since I joined MCA back in 90s.
“This shows that he is not an active member and does not seem to share the same vision as MCA,” MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said in a text message to Malay Mail Online.
MCA Youth chief Senator Chong Sin Woon described Tee’s quit announcement a “shock” and said he too had not been aware of the Muslim convert’s membership in the party.
“It was a shock to many MCA members, including myself, to know that Tee was a life member of MCA,” MCA Youth chief Senator Chong Sin Woon also told Malay Mail Online.
Chong added, however, that Tee’s claiming that MCA was being anti-Islamic with their stance of opposing the implementation of hudud in Malaysia was uncalled for.
“I must rebut him saying MCA is anti-Islam and that is a wild accusations.
“We have stated clearly that what we are doing is to defend the Federal Constitution and not anti-Hudud or anti-Islam,” he said.
He added, however, that any MCA member was free to leave the party but warned Tee against making “baseless accusations.”
“Any party member is free to leave the party if they think they cannot align with the party but don’t attack the party and make baseless accusations,” he said.
Earlier today, Tee reportedly announced his resignation from MCA, saying he no longer wanted to be part of the party after it expressed its opposition to the implementation of hudud in Malaysia.
In a statement on the matter, MCA organising secretary Datuk Yoo Wei How confirmed that Tee was accepted as a member on December 18, 2000, adding that the latter had joined the Selangor branch as a life member.
He also refuted Tee’s label of MCA as anti-Islam, saying the latter would not have even been accepted into the party this had been true.
“MCA has never been and will never be an extremist political party.
“That is why when Ridhuan Tee applied to be an MCA member 16 years ago, MCA did not reject him just because he is a Muslim. So stop accusing MCA as ‘an enemy of Islam’,” he said in the statement.
Yoo added that Tee’s being an MCA member also did not contribute to the development of the Chinese community but rather, had the opposite effect.
“(When) he had joined MCA, his membership shows that he did not become a Malay and his identity as a Chinese remained. As a member, he continued to have freedom of expression and the Chinese community expected him to become a bridge to Islam, but his words and deeds did not show the better of him.
“Ridhuan Tee’s comments have denigrated the Chinese community,” his statement read.
News portal of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia namely Ismaweb reported earlier today that Tee pulled out as a member of MCA and accused the ruling Barisan Nasional’s Chinese component of being anti-Islam after it objected to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965.
Tee also said that he regretted MCA and Gerakan’s condemnation of the hudud Bill, claiming it was the right of Malaysian natives to seek the amendments, which the two had no standing to oppose.
Last Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said tabled a motion to expedite the tabling of Hadi’s Bill in Parliament.
However, Hadi asked to defer the Bill to the next parliamentary meeting in October.
The Bill seeks to empower shariah courts to enforce punishments ― except for the death penalty ― provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution, without elaborating on the nature of the punishments.
Shariah court punishments are currently limited to jail terms not exceeding three years, or whipping of not more than six strokes, or fines of not more than RM5,000.
Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak later sought to allay concerns about Hadi’s Bill, saying that it was not meant to implement hudud law but merely to enable the Shariah courts to impose “a few more” strokes of caning from the current maximum of six.