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August 28, 2009

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Deputy leader in racy sex scandal

A SEX scandal has cost the deputy leader of Malaysia's biggest ethnic Chinese political party his job - again.

Chua Soi Lek, who resigned as health minister last year after DVDs surfaced of him having extramarital sex with a woman in a hotel room, was expelled yesterday by party leadership from the No. 2 spot in the Malaysian Chinese Association.

Chua has said the footage was made public by his political enemies to derail his career, but he made a surprise comeback in October, when he was elected the MCA's deputy president.

Now, he says, party President Ong Tee Keat is reviving the scandal to get rid of a rival.

Ong, however, said a senior party council decided to expel Chua because the deputy had tarnished the party's image. He called the move "in the best interest of the party," the second-largest in the National Front governing coalition.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who heads the largest party in the coalition, said he would not interfere with the MCA leaders' right to expel Chua. But he said he had urged Ong not to allow the party's troubles to jeopardize the National Front's interests.

The ongoing power struggle between Ong and Chua has hurt the party's efforts to regain support from the ethnic Chinese minority, who widely voted against the ruling coalition in general elections last year amid complaints of economic and religious discrimination by Malay Muslim majority leaders.

Chua has not said what his next move will be, but indicated he would not let Ong win without a fight, saying that MCA members should "not let one man self-destroy the party."


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