Anthony Loke: I tried to persuade Ong Kian Ming to stay

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DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook said that he tried but failed to persuade Ong Kian Ming to continue his political struggle.

According to Loke, the Bangi MP had first expressed his intention to take a break from politics months ago, Malaysiakini reported.

He said that Ong had also made up his mind not to contest in the next general election (GE15) before the DAP central executive committee (CEC) elections took place in March.

“He told me two months ago. After I took over the secretary-general’s post, he discussed his decision again with me. I tried to persuade him to stay.

“But he said he had made up his mind. He and his wife want a break from politics,” Loke was quoted as saying by the news portal.

He added that he respected Ong’s decision not to contest in GE15 and thanked the latter for his contributions.

Loke said that Ong announced his decision today so that the party will have adequate time to arrange for a new candidate for the Bangi parliamentary constituency.

According to Malaysiakini, the DAP chief said Ong also proposed some names for the seat.

Loke added that the party will make its decision on the matter after it listens to the party’s grassroots and Selangor DAP committee, and after it runs an assessment on the parliamentary constituency.

Ong, according to Loke, has pledged to assist the party in GE15 with his expertise in constituency analysis and policy analysis, and would still play an important role for DAP.

Today, Ong announced that he will take a break from politics to “regroup and recharge”.

Ong, who was elected the Bangi MP in May 2018 and was previously Serdang MP from 2013 to 2018, said he would not offer himself as a candidate in GE15.

He said he would give his full support to whoever was named as DAP’s candidate for Bangi in GE15, and continue to serve the constituency and the party until Parliament was dissolved.

In a statement, Ong said: “While the results of the recent DAP central executive 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.”

Ong, who was the deputy international trade and industry minister in the former Pakatan Harapan government, thanked his voters and DAP colleagues and friends for their support. – FMT