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Chua Jui Meng’s first PKR rally

Former MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng last night delivered his first public address at a PKR rally in Sungai Besar near here, sharing the stage with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The former health minister was the last speaker before Anwar, befitting his status as PKR's latest and biggest catch. Chua, who lost the MCA's presidential race to Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat last year, joined PKR last weekend, claiming that he was convinced that he was “standing on the right side of history at a defining and critical moment of our nation’s history”. He first contested for MCA's No. 1 post in 2005, but lost to Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

Last night to a largely Malay crowd in this small town near the Perak-Selangor border, Chua once again explained his reason for defecting to PKR. The Malay villagers, mostly in white skullcaps, listened attentively, as he elaborated on the excesses of the government that he was once part of. He spoke with regret of the role played by the two Chinese-based Barisan Nasional (BN) parties, Gerakan and MCA, in the 1999 general election, when the ruling coalition lost Kelantan and Terengganu and a significant number of Malay-majority seats, as a result of the sacking of Anwar from the government. “In 1999, Umno had lost the support of the Malays, it was MCA and Gerakan that ensured Umno remained in power,” said Chua in perfect Malay. After the end of his speech, together with Anwar, he welcomed several unknown MCA grassroots leaders into PKR.


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