Saturday, 18 October 2008 was significant for democracy in Malaysia. It was the day where the second biggest and oldest political party in Malaysia the Malaysia Chinese Association 55th Annual General Meeting, that the new office bearers for the team of 2008-2011.
The surprising news was the victory of Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek as the Deputy President despite the fact that his personal life was an issue in the run up to the party elections. The frontrunning favorite was Datuk Ong Ka Chuan who was the Secretary General. At the end of the day, it is the voting delegates which decides. Although Datuk Dr. Chua’s critics would questions his morality, my opinion is that he had paid the price earlier by quiting all his posts irrespective government or party. So the decisions of the delegates was a demostration of democracy.
While these scenes were unfolding in the nation capital, across the South China Sea in Tawau, the Junior Chamber International Malaysia were having their annual national convention. It was equally exciting although there was no contest for the top post of national president, the four national executive vice presidents post were hotly contested by three delegates from Peninsular and one from Sabah.
In usual practise there would a candidate from each area but this year there was none from Sarawak. As the delegates gathered at the voting hall during the general assembly, the expectation would be out of the four, one would not make it past the post. All the candidates had done exceptionally well during their caucus sessions and also in their JCI career so it was going to be a close contest.
When the result was announced, it was a surprise that only two candidates, George Ong (JCI Tanjung Bunga) and Paul Hen (JCI Tanjung Aru) make it while two others, Amy Tan (JCI Johor Bahru) and Suzanne Gan (JCI Alor Setar) were left trailing.
Somehow, the delegates only went for those from chapters which had the name “Tanjung”. Again, this is the decision of the general assembly. My hope is that Suzanne (who was the Most Outstanding Chapter President in JCI Asia Pacific 2005, 2nd lady Chairperson of JCI Asia Pacific Development Council 2007 and my national vice president 2006) and Amy (Outstanding New Member JCI Malaysia 2005 and Best national vice president 2008) would not let this setback stop them. They should try again in the coming national convention in Ipoh 2009.
For me, what struck me was the speech of the guest of honour YB Pang Yuk Ming during the convention ball. He is also a JCI member and he highest position he had served with JCI Malaysia was national executive vice president. In his speech he mentioned that JCI Malaysia is like any other NGO with its own style of politics. He regreted having been dislussioned by some individuals leaders with their brand of “godfather” politics that discouraged him from the national president post in 2003.
It reminds me of the current Prime Minister of Japan Mr Taro Aso and many others who had asked me why it took me so long to be the national president when I could have continue on after my stint as the national secretary general in 1997. But thats another story.
Well, at the end of the day DEMOCRACY PREVAILS. Thanks JCI TAwau for the wonderful memories of the JCI Malaysia ANC.