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MCA No 2 may announce his decision on contest today

With the MCA scheduled to announce its list of candidates tomorrow, speculation is rife that MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy is still unsure whether he would contest in the general election.

It is learnt that the Transport Minister is seriously considering withdrawing from the race for health reasons and that he had already conveyed his plans to party leaders.

Until 1.30 this morning, the Pahang politician was still huddled with his aides and supporters to talk about his plan but it is understood that he may announce his decision today.

He spent the late afternoon meeting with party members and attended a dinner at the Rasah New Village in Seremban but left no indication on the talk about his political future.

Chinese dailies reported on the front pages of their evening editions yesterday that Chan, who is the incumbent MP for Selayang, would withdraw from the polls on medical grounds.

Chan and party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting could not be reached for response to the speculation by the vernacular press.

Party sources said Chan had already conveyed his decision to the party leadership, adding that Chan had been told that “it is up to him to decide”.

They added that there was no need for Chan to rush to make a decision as the nominations would only be on Sunday and that “anything could happen between now and Sunday”.

A close friend of the former Universiti Pertanian Malaysia lecturer said Chan had talked about his wish to step down “for the past few months” but he had persuaded him to continue.

On Aug 29 last year, his press secretary Ng Kok Wai said in a statement that Chan had gone on a two-week leave due to health reasons.

The statement said he needed to go abroad for a medical check-up and consultation and that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had approved the leave.

On Sept 12, he reported for work after the medical check-up in Australia, quashing rumours that he had resigned.

Chan said he managed to spend more time with his family while in Australia but declined to disclose details of his medical condition, saying it was “personal”.

Chan, 53, has been an MP for four terms. He was first elected as the Tanah Rata state assemblyman in 1986 and has served in various party capacities including MCA Youth chief and vice-president.

The Bentong-born Chan entered the political foray when he joined MCA at the age of 25. After a five-year stint as a university lecturer, Chan became political secretary to the late health minister and MCA vice-president Tan Sri Chan Siang Sun in 1986 and moved up the ladder until he became the present MCA deputy president.

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