Ong Ka Ting should temporarily step down as Cabinet Minister and MCA President until his relationship  with “Jackie Chan” down the years had been fully accounted for and an independent judicial inquiry cleared him of any improper ties with the triad kingpin

Media Statement
y Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday):  Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Othman Talib said yesterday that it was a coincidence that Ong King Ee @ Jackie Chan, the reputed triad kingpin of Sio Sam Ong, who was the target of a nation-wide police manhunt following  the issue of a  warrant of arrest last Tuesday,  is  an MCA member and that the issue should not be politicised. 

The Penang police chief should strictly confine himself to police duties to uphold law and order and stay clear of political waters, and least of all should not  allow himself to be made used of to bail out political parties or political personalities from having to give full and satisfactory accounting for their triad connections or activities, especially when they had been the subject of public allegations by a Deputy Minister who had taken the unusual step of personally submitting two names to the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to prove triad infiltration and influence in MCA. 

What is the outcome of police investigations into the serious allegations by the  MCA Youth leader, Datuk Ong Tee Keat, of triad infiltration and influence in top  MCA circles which must also affect  the integrity of the government, backed up with the submission of two names to Abdullah, followed by three police reports from MCA Team B in Bukit Mertajam, Klang and Kuala Lumpur? 

If Tee Keat’s grave allegations of triad infiltration and influence in top MCA circles, and indirectly in government, were baseless, then why is he continuing as  Deputy Minister when he should be sacked for defaming the second  biggest component party  of the ruling coalition and by implication the government and even  charged in court for the offence of criminal defamation? 

If Tee Keat’s allegations were well-founded, then why had no action been taken to clean up the MCA leadership, and indirectly the government, from  triad infiltration and influence – and Tee Keat promoted as full Cabinet Minister for his political courage and honesty? 

The police nation-wide manhunt for  Jackie Chan, the chairman of Gurney Drive MCA branch chairman in Penang, has proven Tee Keat right and catapulted to the political centre-stage the issue of triad activities, links, infiltration and influence in top MCA circles, and indirectly the government. 

It is therefore  most inappropriate and out-of-place  for the Penang CPO to make the statement that triad infiltration and influence of political parties and indirectly the government should not be “politicised” and no concern of political parties and politicians. 

MCA Deputy President and Transport Minister, Datuk Chan Kong Choy said yesterday that the MCA needs to revamp its membership recruitment process to weed out undesirables in the party as the present system for membership applications do not require applicants to disclose their background. 

Chan should not  evade the real issue at hand – the extent of triad infiltration and influence in various MCA leadership circles and indirectly the government.  Is Chan seriously suggesting that the national MCA leadership was completely unaware of the triad background of Jackie Chan until the nation-wide police alert and manhunt for the triad kingpin last Tuesday? 

For the past three days, Ong Ka Ting and various MCA leaders have been contacting or writing to the Malay Mail about the new MCA President’s relationship and link with Jackie Chan. 

Yesterday, The Malay Mail in a report headlined “Ka Ting In The Dock” said the MCA President will be asked to explain to the MCA Presidential Council today why he had misled members into believing that he did not know the fugitive  Sio Sam Ong triad chief, in view of his contradictory statements on the issue,  the statement in Oriental Daily News Chinese daily on May 8 that he had never met Jackie Chan and Ah Loo – the two names which were mentioned in a poison-pen letter againt him and which was the subject of a police report by Ka Ting - and his admission to the Malay Mail last Saturday that he and Jackie Chan were “merely casual friends” and that he knew of the triad kingpin’s record of having been held in detention under the Emergency Ordinance in the Simpang Rengam detention centre when he joined MCA in 2000. 

Today’s Malay Mail carried a letter from Ka Ting clarifying that the Oriental Daily News had carried a clarification on May 25 that “upon investigations by the newspaper, what Ong Ka Ting had actually said was that he had not met one of the two persons mentioned in the anonymous letter”. 

Instead of laying the matter to rest, Ka Ting’s latest clarification to Malay Mail has raised even more questions, especially as MCA public services and complaint department director, Michael Chong, had contacted the Sunday Mail to demand “Be fair to Ka Ting” but seemed to admit that Ka Ting had dealings with Jackie Chan when he was Deputy Home Minister and the triad kingpin was detained in Simpang Rengam for two years from 1996. (Sunday Mail  20.7.03) 

Chong said he wanted the public to be fair towards MCA and party leaders.

He said in the past, many wives and children of those detained under the Emergency Ordinance had approached him for help so that their husbands’ or fathers’  sentences were not extended. 

Chong added: “At that time, Datuk Seri (Ong) was Deputy Home Minister. I appealed through his Ministry on humanitarian grounds to help these detainees as many of them had already served their sentences.” 

Many questions of great public interest demand answer, including: 

  • Was Jackie Chan one of the two names given by the MCA Youth leader to Abdullah in March this year to substantiate his allegation of triad infiltration in top MCA circles?
  • When did Ka Ting first meet Jackie Chan and what was their dealings or relationship down the years.
  • Did Ka Ting, as intimated by Michael Chong, play any part in ensuring that Jackie Chan’s detention was not extended in 1998?
  • In his statement to The Malay Mail last Saturday, Ka Ting said that the last time he saw Jackie Chan was during the Indra Kayangan by-election last year.  What was the role of Jackie Chan in the Barisan Nasional victory in the Indera Kayangan by-election?

As at stake is not only the integrity of the MCA  and its leadership but the whole government, as the tainting of the MCA leadership with triad activities would willy-nilly mean tainting  the government as well, Ka Ting should temporarily step down as Cabinet Minister and MCA President until his relationship  with “Jackie Chan” down the years had been fully accounted for and an independent judicial inquiry cleared him of any improper ties with the triad kingpin.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman