Decision to not offer myself as a candidate for the 15th General Elections and to take a break from frontline politics

On the 9th of May 2018, I was elected by the voters of the parliamentary constituency of Bangi as their Member of Parliament. It has been my honour to serve the voters and residents of Bangi over the past 4 years and as the Member of Parliament for the Serdang parliamentary constituency from 2013 to 2018. The past nine years of serving as a Member of Parliament has been a life changing experience. I have engaged with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities in different places all across the country. I have been involved in projects and been to places in Malaysia which I would not have visited if not for my work as a Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister. I have had the opportunity to work with and mentor hundreds of parliamentary interns as part of my job scope. I have benefitted from the support of hundreds of volunteers, party members and supporters when carrying out my parliamentary duties. I am thankful and grateful to the voters who elected me and gave me the responsibility of serving them in various capacities and roles.

I would like to thank my senior in the party and the person responsible for bringing me into the party and for advocating that I be given the opportunity to serve as an elected representative – Tony Pua. Tony is responsible for giving the party fresh ideas and new visions in both direct ways – through Impian Sabah and Sarawak, through his persistence and publicity on the 1MDB scandal, through Theater Impian, just to name a few – and indirect ways – notably through the recruitment of new members who were later fielded as candidates starting from the 2008 GE all to the way to the recent 2018 GE. His service to the party and the country has most definitely left its mark over the past 14 years.

I would also like to thank Lim Guan Eng for having the confidence in me and naming me as the DAP candidate for the parliamentary constituency of Serdang in 2013 and Bangi in 2018. I am also immensely grateful for being able to serve as one of his special officers for a period of 2 months when he was Minister of Finance and later, for being named as one of the party’s candidates to be a Deputy Minister, for which I served for a period of 20 months.

I am also honoured to have had the opportunity to observe up close the work ethic and dedication of Lim Kit Siang whose energy as an 80-year-old in serving the party and the country would put many people half his age, including myself, to shame. In almost all things, Kit Siang has shown the country how a politician is able to put the country’s priorities over individual priorities and for this, he is deserving of being acknowledged as one of the most influential and well-respected politicians in Malaysia’s political history.

I would also like to thank all my parliamentary colleagues who expressed appreciation for my service to the party and also those who tried to convince me to change my mind in my decision not to contest in GE15 including Tony Pua, Liew Chin Tong, Yeo Bee Yin, Teo Nie Ching, Anthony Loke, Wong Shu Qi, Hannah Yeoh, Wong Hon Wai, M. Kulasegaran, Gobind Singh, Ngeh Koo Ham, Nga Kor Ming, RSN Rayer and Kelvin Yii, among others. It has been a pleasure and an honour to serve with you in parliament.

I would also like to extend my thanks to the special officers and staff who served with me when I was Deputy Minister at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). You know who you are. I am grateful for your efforts in assisting me to do as much as I did as a Deputy Minister during those 20 months in office. I am also grateful to all of the staff at MITI and MITI agencies whom I had the pleasure of working with on a number of projects including Industry 4.0, FDI related initiatives and various outreach programs to industry associations & business chambers, just to name a few.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with many dedicated local councillors and village heads (ketua kampung) in Majlis Bandaraya Subang Jaya (MBSj) and Majlis Perbandaran Kajang (MPKj) during my past 9 years in office. I would not have been able to do many of the things I did at the national, state, and local levels if not for your support. They include Tai Cheng Heng, Thong Kim Fatt, Thiagarajah, Billy Sun, Edward So, Dickson Tan, Sangeetha, Aw Hui Koon, Lim Chee Yuan, and Jacky Cheong.

I will always remember the friendship of the late ADUN of Balakong, Eddie Ng Tien Chee, and the many lessons which he taught me through his record of serving the voters in Balakong and leadership of the grassroot members. His spirit continues to motivate and guide many of us. He is the reason behind the strong partnership between my office and the members of Unit Tindak Bangi led by Vincent Sia and Jeffrey Hoh.

When I was first elected as MP of Serdang in 2013, my first parliamentary assistant, Sharon Ling, provided invaluable support especially from an administrative and research standpoint. We remain in touch until today and I am glad that Sharon is back in Malaysia again after spending three years as a Masters student and Fulbright scholar in the United States.

Last but not least, I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the staff in my constituency service center, especially Khoo Khim Han and Nor Zulaila binti Abdul Ghani (known to her friends as Lily), both of whom are my special officers and MPKj local councillors. Khim Han and Lily were and still are my right and left hand in handling many of the constituency issues. They were and are ably supported by Wei Zi Quan, village head of Sungai Chua, Raymond Kwan, also an MPKj local councillor, Hidayu and Thamarai, both of whom are assistants to local councillors, Francis Choo, who was a former intern and now an assistant to a local councillor and Aeisyah Amira, who recently joined my office as an office assistant.

Many of you may want to know the reason behind my decision not to offer myself as a candidate in GE15. While the results of the recent DAP Central Election Committee elections did play a role in confirming my decision to take a break from frontline politics, it was not the main reason for my decision. When I was first offered to be a candidate for the parliamentary seat of Serdang, my agreement with my wife was that I would serve out two terms and then re-evaluate the situation. Coming to the end of my second term, I believe that I have served my constituency, my party and the country to the best of my abilities. It is now time for the younger generation in the party to take over the reins of leadership.

In the meantime, I have full confidence in the leadership of Anthony Loke as the new Secretary General of the DAP and I urge all members and leaders of the party to show their full support for Anthony and the role which he will play in leading the party and Pakatan Harapan into GE15. I believe that Anthony and the party leadership will continue to provide younger members and leaders opportunities to serve the party in various capacities including to be fielded as candidates in GE15.

I promise to give my full support for whoever the party names as the candidate for P102 Bangi in GE15. In the meantime, I will continue to serve my constituency and the party until parliament is dissolved.

I am not retiring from politics but merely taking a break to regroup and recharge. I stand ready to serve the party and the country in the future if my services are required. As for my immediate plans after GE15, I will take a much-needed break and spend some time to exercise, read and reflect on how and where I can best put the skills and knowledge which I have accumulated over the past 9 years to good use.

MP for Bangi
Media statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 9th May 2022