KUALA LUMPUR: Newly appointed Barisan Nasional (BN) chief coordinator Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the new post was created following a series of meetings he had with Prime Minister and BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I met with Najib twice in four-eye meetings to discuss this. In the third meeting, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein were also present,” the MCA deputy president told a press conference yesterday, accompanied by his son and Labis MP Chua Tee Yong.
He said the post was necessary to foster closer cooperation among the ruling coalition’s component parties, especially in Pakatan Rakyat-controlled (PR) states.
Chua said it was normal for him to meet Najib “off and on” to discuss important issues, adding that it was the prime minister who mooted the idea of a chief coordinator to assist the BN machinery in states that BN had lost in the 12th general election as well as in Negri Sembilan and Johor.
“BN is still strong in Negri Sembilan and Johor. We just want to make it stronger,” he said, playing down the possibility that the two states were slipping into PR’s hands.
Chua pointed out that it was possible Najib had other mechanisms to assist various BN-controlled states such as Pahang, and Najib understood Chua might be loaded with too much work if he were to be tasked with taking care of BN’s machinery nationwide.
For a start, Chua said BN was looking to set up “BN service centres” in constituencies that were held by PR although BN might already have a presence in those particular constituencies through its component parties.
“This is in line with the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept. We are dealing with a Pakatan Rakyat that is confident of winning the next general election,” he said, adding that it was pointless for a BN component party to be strong if the ruling coalition lost an election.
Chua, a former health minister, said it was time for BN to move on a united front irrespective of the strength of each component party, stressing that the long-term goal was to rebuild and strengthen the coalition to regain the voters’ confidence.
He also said he would meet Najib and BN secretary-general Tengku Datuk Seri Adnan Tengku Mansor soon on his plan of action as the BN chief coordinator while keeping his boss and MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat posted on the developments.
“In some areas where BN had lost in the last general election, the morale among BN members is a little low,” he said, adding that there should be joint collaboration and activities among BN parties in a constituency.
Asked on the remuneration and status of the BN chief coordinator, he said: “This you have to ask the prime minister. We just do the work when asked to.”
On whether the appointment had anything to do with his statement that PR was courting him to cross over, he said: “As I’ve said, I’m a party man of Barisan Nasional. I have stayed and worked in this party for 25 years. Leaving is not an easy thing to do.”
Chua also said he was unaware that Ong had brokered a deal with Najib to secure the chief coordinator appointment for him while not discounting that there could be talks between Ong and the prime minister without his knowledge.
Source : The Edge