Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 20th May 2009:
Wong Foon Meng will have to resign as MCA Secretary-General to become mini-term Senate President for eight months
MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat disclosed that Senate Deputy President Datuk Wong Foon Meng will assume duties as Senate President from 6th July 2009 when the six-year term of incumbent Tan Sri Dr. Hamid Pawanteh expires.
The appointment of Wong as the MCA nominee for Senate President is a surprise for two reasons:
Firstly, it is against parliamentary convention and practice for a front-line party official to be appointed to positions like Speaker of Dewan Rakyat or President of Dewan Negara – which is why the present Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia resigned his post as divisional Umno Chairman on his appointment to chair the Dewan Rakyat. Is Wong going to resign as MCA Secretary-General?
Secondly, Wong will be appointed only to serve a mini-term of eight short months from July 6, 2009 as Senate President as he is a second-term Senator whose term expires on 12th April 2010 and there will not be a third reappointment.
In contrast, the present Senate President Dr. Hamid was appointed Senator on 7.7.2003 to serve two full terms totaling six years as Senate President.
Hasn’t MCA another nominee who could serve as Senate President for two full terms of six years, such as former MCA Ministers, Dr. Ting Chew Peh or even Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (although this will mean a by-election in Kulai) or former Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Lim Si Cheng?
Or is the MCA only allowed to “warm the seat” of the Senate President for a brief spell of eight months before the MCA nominee has to vacate it because of the expiry of his term as Senator?
Ong Tee Keat should be more serious about such appointments and should even consider nomination of qualified and eminent Malaysian Chinese who need not be MCA members to be appointed as Senate President.
Where does it say in the Constitution that the Senate President must be members of MCA or other Barisan Nasional component parties?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor