Najib's peace plan working

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak's peace plan for the MCA could see the Nov 28 extraordinary general meeting being called off and fresh party polls being held.

The issues that appear to be contentious now are confined to the date of party polls and an acceptable electoral system.

MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who leads one of two opposing factions in the party, said in Kuala Terengganu yesterday that he would call off the Nov 28 EGM if all parties agreed to fresh elections.

Liow said this was the fastest way to resolve the current crisis, which has split the party following the Oct 10 EGM which rejected president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, as MCA leaders.

"If it (fresh elections) can be determined before Nov 28 and if the proposed date is agreeable to all, then we will call off the EGM as the purpose of the meeting is to seek fresh elections.

"We were elected as Central Committee members by the present delegates and they will vote for us again.

"We have the list ready; we can call for an election. It can be done in a short time," he said at the state MCA building here on Friday night where he briefed state MCA members about the party's leadership crisis.

On the best time for fresh elections, Liow replied "as soon as possible".

On Friday, Dr Chua said he supported fresh elections, to be held at the earliest in March, provided the present electoral system was maintained. The party is still studying ways to revamp its electoral system.

On Thursday, Ong, Dr Chua and secretary-general Datuk Wong Foon Meng met Najib for 45 minutes.

Liow, Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong and Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun met him the next day.

Both sides said Najib indicated he favoured fresh polls.

However, Ong appeared sceptical about Liow's readiness to call off the EGM, reminding that he (Ong) had in fact proposed fresh party polls at the Oct 15 Central Committee meeting.

"But Liow's camp opposed the proposal. There are too many red herrings.

"He has said nothing new and his commitment to such a proposal (calling off the EGM) is questionable.

"Too many flip-flops have made any engagements with him futile," Ong, who is the transport minister, said via text message from London, where he is attending the International Maritime Organisation meeting.

Asked if he agreed to fresh polls and the date, he said: "I have made it clear if we want to have fresh polls, it must be based on a new electoral system involving a wider base of delegates at the divisional level."

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