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Malaysian party fires leader over sex scandal

Malaysian party fires leader over sex scandal

Malaysia's biggest ethnic Chinese political party expelled its deputy leader Thursday over a video sex scandal, re-igniting a party feud that has hampered efforts to revive the ruling coalition's sagging support.
Malaysian Chinese Association President Ong Tee Keat said Chua Soi Lek's expulsion was "in the best interest of the party" and that a senior party council made the decision because the deputy had tarnished the party's image.
But Chua, who resigned as health minister last year after DVDs surfaced of him having extramarital sex with a woman in a hotel room, insisted he was ousted because he was Ong's rival for authority in the MCA, the second-largest party in the National Front governing coalition.
Chua stepped down in January 2008 following the emergence of the DVDs, which he claimed were made public by his political enemies to derail his career. But he made a surprise comeback in October, when he was elected the MCA's deputy president.
But the ongoing power struggle between Ong and Chua has hurt the party's efforts to regain support from the ethnic Chinese minority, who widely voted against the ruling coalition in general elections last year amid complaints of economic and religious discrimination by Malay Muslim majority leaders.
Chua has not said what his next move will be, but indicated he would not let Ong win without a fight, saying that MCA members should "not let one man self-destroy the party."
"Comrades who love the party will come to realize that its time to stand up and unite to save the party. Otherwise, we will soon fade into oblivion," Chua said in a statement.
Party officials aligned with Ong have said in recent months that they were considering whether Chua should face disciplinary action.
The MCA has been the main party for ethnic Chinese for more than 50 years, but critics say it has become subservient to the United Malays National Organization, the National Front's dominant force. Malays comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia's 28 million people, while ethnic Chinese make up about a quarter.
The MCA won only 15 parliamentary seats _ barely half of its previous 31 seats _ in last year's general elections, contributing to the National Front's loss of its longtime two-thirds majority in Parliament.


Updated : 2021-07-31 18:26 GMT+08:00