Mon, Jul 20, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Senior member of Malaysia’s ruling coalition resigns

SWITCHING OVER In his departure speech, Chua Jui Meng said that the sudden death of an opposition aide had been the tipping point in his decision to leave

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

A senior member of the Malaysian ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has quit over its alleged abuse of power and the mysterious death of an opposition leader’s aide. Former health minister Chua Jui Meng, 66, of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) — the second largest party in the Barisan Nasional — on Saturday joined opposition Anwar Ibrahim’s Keadilan party.

“Today I announce that I am resigning as a member of MCA. Now I announce I am joining PKR [Parti Keadilan Rakyat],” Chua said in a statement late on Saturday. Chua had been a member of the MCA for 33 years.

“We see the abuse of power in the use of the federal institutions to harass, persecute and prosecute the leader of the opposition,” he said, in reference to Anwar’s sodomy trial.

Anwar has rejected the sodomy allegations leveled by a former aide as a conspiracy to derail his plan to topple the government.

After seizing control of a third of seats in parliament, the Pakatan coalition is now vowing to unseat the Barisan Nasional coalition — which has ruled Malaysia for half a century — in the next general elections.

Chua in his speech also said that the sudden death of a young opposition political aide, Teoh Beng Hock, became the tipping point in his decision to join Keadilan.

“The tragic death of 30-year-old Teo Beng Hock is the consequence of one such institution going overboard in its action,” he said.

Teo, an assistant to a member of the state Cabinet in Selangor, which is ruled by the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance apparently plunged from the 14th floor of anti-corruption offices.

His body was found on Thursday sprawled on the roof of an adjacent building, after he had undergone questioning late into the night at the offices of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

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