Incumbent ex-MP, MCA's ex-President, Ong Tee Keat is not included in MCA's candidate list for this coming GE. Unless there is a last-minute intervention by BN Chairman, Najib, Ong has to stand as independent candidate. This will create a 3-corner fight with MCA's Garry Lim and PKR's Rafizi Ramli.
Most people prefer one-to-one contest between BN and PR, so anyone, for any reason, who is going to join in will be frown upon. It is alright if the independent is a relatively unknown who can be easily brushed aside by the majority of voters. But an ex-President of MCA? Surely he must have reasonable support before to have reached the top.
Most people know OTK as someone who rocked the PKFZ boat which must have upset some top Umno leaders (some ex-leaders who were involved). So OTK's fall was in a way expected of someone within BN who could not keep quiet about wheels and deals in the corridors of power.
Rafizi Ramli has certainly made a name for himself, especially in exposing the NFC scandal. Even as a rookie in this coming GE, he has a very good chance of being elected as an MP. His candidacy was announced well before the news about OTK's exclusion from MCA's list. If he were to stand as an independent in Pandan, then some voters will have to decide whether to have Ong or Rafizi, instead of the expected splitting of votes between Ong and Garry. In fact, most people believe Ong's participation would steal the limelight off relatively unknown Garry, further reducing his already low chance of winning.
If I were to be in that situation, I would choose Rafizi over Ong for a number of reasons. First, Ong has shown to be ineffective in trying to change things from within BN and his efforts seemed in vain but costed him MCA presidency instead. Now that he is an independent candidate, his influence in national politics will be reduced remarkably. His popularity among the constituents in Pandan will be just that, localised.
We have seen enough of popular politicians in Malaysian politics who were forgotten after a number of years, since leaving a political party. No one is big enough to be indispensable, not even Dr Mahathir.
On the other hand, Rafizi represents one of a team of future national leaders under Pakatan Rakyat. He has the necessary qualification (chartered accountant) and experience and exposure in industry (Petronas and Pharmaniaga) and proven himself in many ways in his many exposes.
This GE is like no other in the past 12 GEs (56 years) since independence. This GE is the one in which Pakatan Rakyat stands a fair chance of defeating incumbent Barisan Nasional. For those who value change for the better of the country, this is the best chance, and all other considerations (personal pride and candidacy; differences with fellow party leaders or unhappiness over communal issues and so on) should take a back seat. We should all focus on the main objective of winning against a formidable opponent who has all the advantages of incumbency and government machinery, and who is well known for being unfair in elections. We should avoid all avoidable or unnecessary distractions.