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Sex scandal costs Malaysian party leader his job

Sex scandal costs Malaysian party leader his job

A sex scandal has cost the deputy leader of Malaysia's biggest ethnic Chinese political party his job _ again.
Chua Soi Lek, who resigned as health minister last year after DVDs surfaced of him having extramarital sex with a woman in a hotel room, was expelled Thursday by party leadership from the No. 2 spot in the Malaysian Chinese Association. Chua has said the footage was 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.
Now, he says, party President Ong Tee Keat is reviving the scandal to get rid of his rival.
Ong, however, said a senior party council decided to expel Chua because the deputy had tarnished the party's image. He called the move "in the best interest of the party," the second-largest in the National Front governing coalition.
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 it's 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 : 2021-03-09 19:06 GMT+08:00