Pro-government academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah’s announcement this week took many by surprise, not because he was quitting BN’s main Chinese component MCA, but because his membership was kept almost a secret, including from top party members.
Yesterday, even the party’s Wanita chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie expressed surprise that Ridhuan, a Chinese Muslim convert who frequently attacks Chinese Malaysians for supporting the opposition, had been a fellow member.
“I am surprised to know that controversial academician Ridhuan Tee Abdullah was once an MCA member but relief [sic] to read his announcement that he has now quit his life membership for good,” said Heng, adding that Ridhuan’s continued presence in the party would have brought shame to “MCA, BN and the whole nation”.
The Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (Unisza) lecturer had cited MCA leaders’ strong opposition to the tabling of the private member’s bill on Shariah in Parliament last Thursday by PAS when he announced he was cutting ties with the Chinese party.
Ridhuan said he had joined the party 16 years ago to show that he was still loyal to his Chinese roots despite converting to Islam.
This followed frequent accusations from critics that he was trying to be “more Malay than Malays” by attacking the Chinese community as “kiasu”.
Ridhuan continued to attack his former party, calling its leaders “shameless” for winning elections through Malay votes but objecting to the PAS president’s bill to allow the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.
“Shameless. (MCA) won the elections on Malay votes and got Cabinet positions. They are ungrateful,” he said in a statement.
He also challenged MCA leaders to make good their threat to quit the government.
But Heng fought back, saying Ridhuan was a bad example both as a Muslim and MCA member.
“Obviously, he was not an exemplary member and is definitely a bad example of a Muslim to others in the country,” she added.
Last Thursday, PAS president and Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang tabled a private member’s bill to amend the Shariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, so that the Shariah court is not limited to imposing a maximum sentence of three years’ jail, RM5,000 and six lashes of the cane, paving the way for hudud in Kelantan or any other states wanting to implement the Islamic capital punishment.
It later emerged that the bill’s tabling received support from Umno, with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said who ensured the bill could be tabled in Parliament.
This was followed by leaders from MCA, MIC and SUPP warning that they were prepared to quit their posts if the amendments were passed.