These are the things that Ong Tee Keat is quoted as having said:
1. Impact on public trust towards BN
Ong said how he and the BN government handles the issue will have a bearing on public trust.
2. Rules of political appointments to statutory bodies and corporations must change
He also said the rules of political appointment in government corporations must change, where those sitting on the Board of Directors must have certain aptitudes and skills.
“We must get people who at least know something about the subject matter. You might be a political appointee, but at least be well-versed with the subject matter,” he said.
Ong admitted that this proposal was not going to earn him many friends but stressed that this must be done if one is to learn any lessons from the RM12.5 billion fiasco, illustrating that the management of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) had operated with impunity probably because the Board of Directors was not savvy enough to comprehend the intricacies of port management.
3. Make the PKFZ fiasco the turning point
“PKFZ should be made a turning point if we really want to bring in a new breed of political culture of accountability and transparency.
“We don’t just talk, we must walk the talk,” he said, adding that this is the acid test to the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.
I have previously written that the MCA feud was fought on personality against the backdrop of the PKFZ fiasco.
I must say that on the strength of the 3 matters enumerated above, neutrals should support Ong Tee Keat to ensure that he carries out this agenda.
There are many - particularly in UMNO - who are taking the stand that BN components like the MCA, particularly leaders like Ong Tee Keat, and, are of questionable use to UMNO. See, for instance, Nur Jazlan's column.
These views do point towards the urgent need for the MCA to re-position itself. This is something it cannot do until the internal convulsions can be sorted out. But, can it be done?
The most intriguing feature of the MCA tussle is, to me, not the actual contenders. Rather, it is the shadowy role being played by ghosts of MCA leaders past who have a personal stake and exposure to the PKFZ issue. These are the characters that will prevent any attempt by Ong Tee Keat to quell dissent in order to commence genuine reform.
The other intriguing matter is that of strong murmurs that the UMNO leadership are not inclined towards Ong Tee Keat. Whether this has anything to do with PKFZ and, if so, which aspect of PKFZ, is unclear. But, such inclination or non-inclination is irrelevant and, should be irrelevant to Ong Tee Keat because for as long as he is the leader of the MCA, UMNO has to work with him. And this, if I may say, should make Ong Tee Keat more attractive for supporters. It allows him to be perceived to be independent (perception is everything even if reality may not be quite the same) and, therefore, worthy of support.
If Ong survives this test - and, I expect that he should - Ong should parlay public perception of his courage and leadership to see through the PKFZ matter and bring the guilty parties to book and, equally important, garner his MCA colleagues towards a multiracial platform. The parochial Chinese issues will always be there.
And, if Ong is to make his mark, it will be that he transformed MCA from the Malaysian Chinese Association to the Malaysian Community Association. By so doing, Ong and the MCA will have a fighting chance in the Thirteenth General Elections.