K UALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting has decided not to seek re-election to defend his post in the party elections in October.
He said it was a decision that he had thought about thoroughly after seeking the views of party members for the past three months.
"It has been my political approach that a leader should not hold on to position for too long. My decision is a natural progression to what I have always advocated," he said.
Ong said as MP for Kulai, he would continue to serve the people and the party and support his colleagues in the renewal process.
Hours after news drifted out that Ong would be announcing his decision not to seek re-election, he was inundated with telephone calls.
The news had travelled as far as Hong Kong even before he had put the final touches to his press statement.
For party members, the decision has not come as a shock as he had been discussing quietly with them on his plans.
He had also dropped hints to grassroots leaders and members, telling them that no one was indispensable in the party and also prepared party leaders by letting them know that he would be informing the media of his decision.
Still, by late noon, some party leaders still dropped by at his house and pleaded with him to change his mind.
Reading a copy of the Sin Chew Daily evening edition, which had it the streets by 6pm, Ong said:
“I am mentally prepared and firm about my decision. There are many talented and younger leaders in the party.
“No one is indispensable and we should not rely on a person. Teamwork is crucial,” he said.
He said his decision was “firm” as he believed in principles and not making decision in a rush, “but I appreciate the good intentions and good support from the grassroots.”
“They are my strength all this while. I must be fair to them by making this decision early, so they won’t be caught unprepared.
“Similarly, when I first took over the presidency, people were not sure whether I could do the job, this would happen to the future president.
“But given the opportunity and time, the person elected by the party members can do the job.”
At 52, Ong, who is a former Mathematics and chemistry teacher from PJ Catholic High School, is still regarded as young.
“I have always practiced the culture of accountability and not hanging on to power,” saying he started his career 22 years ago.
“I turned to full time politics when I was 30 years old and I have been a career politician for the last 22 years. I have reached the peak, I have done my best and I have to concur with the natural situation and environment. My term expires in October and I feel the timing is right to exit. Not to seek re-election,” he said.
Ong said as he would still party president until October, he said he would carry out his duties diligently through this period.http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/6/28/nation/20080628202937&sec=nation