"I am resigning as a member of MCA and with the permission of PKR's de facto leader (Anwar Ibrahim), I'm announcing that I'm joining PKR," he told a crowd of 1,000, which responded with loud shouts of 'reformasi'.
"I'm convinced that today I'm standing on the right side of history, especially at this defining critical moment of our history, in joining PKR."
In hearing the response of the jubilant crowd, Chua quipped: “You know, I never got so much applause like that ever in MCA.”
He and Anwar appeared together this afternoon at PKR's 'The Truth Behind the Scandals: Perak, PKFZ and the BN Conspiracy' forum in Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa.
The forum participants applauded as Chua and Anwar entered the hall at 3.30pm. A banner 'Congratulations to Chua for joining PKR' was unfurled as the former MCA vice-president walked in.
According to Chua, he decided to join PKR because Umno was undermining the country's two-coalition political system.
He added that the death of Teoh Beng Hock, the political aide of Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was the “tipping point” in his decision to defect.
Teoh's body was found on Thursday sprawled on the roof of an adjacent building after he had undergone questioning late into the night at the offices of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Chua was accompanied by former MCA senator David Yeoh Eng Hock and former Lumut parliamentarian Yap Yit Thong - both of whom also announced they were joining PKR, which drew a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Pakatan seeks to regain momentum
Malaysiakini had on Thursday reported that Chua would defect to PKR. On that day, Chua called an emergency meeting of his Bakri MCA division where he resigned as its division chief after 23 years.
It is believed that the opposition is seeking to use Chua's defection to regain momentum for the opposition which has been floundering due to internal bickering and a resurgent Barisan Nasional under new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Chua, 64, had contested for the MCA president's post twice and lost to two Ongs - Ong Ka Ting in 2005 and Ong Tee Keat in 2008.
He was not picked to defend his Bakri parliamentary seat last year.
The seat was subsequently won by DAP's Er Teck Hwa - making Bakri the sole parliamentary seat in Johor to fall to the opposition in the 2008 general elections.
Chua: Wow, nine times
Chua said BN's power grab in Perak and the wooing of PAS by Umno to form a unity government based on race and religion have both contradicted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's '1Malaysia' motto.
“What will happened to the Chinese, Indians and other races? And of course, there is the prosecution of the PKR de facto leader once again for sodomy.”
Chua said that although Anwar had been acquitted by the Federal Court years ago, he was now been charged again for sodomy.
He was quickly corrected by the crowd that the actual number was nine times.
“Wow, nine times! Then I take off my hat to you, sir - 62-year-old and can sodomise nine times although he has a medical history...
“Not only should you be the head of the opposition, you should be the prime minister!” he joked as Anwar, who was sitting at the other end of the stage, looked flustered.
To be given a 'prominent' post
At the press conference later, Anwar said that Chua would be given a major role to play in PKR.
“Chua's role will be the prominent one. Other than the supreme council, I would seek the approval of the president (Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and the political bureau to immediately accept him (as appointed member),” he said.
“I joined the party without condition. There is also no condition set by Anwar before I join PKR,” he said.
On his relationship with MCA boss Ong, the former party vice-president said that they would have a healthy respect for each other although he has chosen to go on separate ways.
“He is my friend and he is a man of ideals and principles. I respect him for that and I think he will accept me for that too. I believe that our relationship will continue as friends,” he said.
Q & A with Chua
Why did you deny (on Thursday) that you were joining PKR?
I was wrongly quoted - I never denied and I never confirmed. I did tell them (journalists) that you would know when the time is right.
I always maintained that one must be consistent, don't tell lies. If you can't tell people now, tell them to wait. And in any case what I said in Bakri, in terms of the need for major reforms - deep reforms not superficial reforms - the journalists should have understood...
Have you submitted your resignation to (MCA president) Ong Tee Keat?
I will be doing it, I have announced it. I did announce my resignation just now, this other thing is just the formality of sending a letter.
Are you disappointed with where the MCA is heading to?
No, I'm not going to touch on that - whether I'm disappointed or not. There is some reluctance, of course, as to why I have left MCA.
Before this, I have issued two manifestoes - in 2005 and 2008. I have compared the contents of the manifestoes and the vision of Anwar and his Malaysian agenda in the last general elections. I see many areas of commonalities where there can be in agreement. That was the thing that really persuaded me that PKR is the right channel for me to join.
My life, my career, (all this while) I have make sure that the government takes care of all the races. What I'm going do is to help him (Anwar) achieve his Malaysian agenda.
What took you so long to join PKR?
Very simple, I have stated this very clearly. I wanted to reform MCA. You may not know this, when I campaigned for presidency, (I argued that) MCA should reform whether or not Umno reforms itself. If Umno refuses and only initiates superficial reforms, then MCA must come out of Barisan Nasional.
Did you join PKR because you lost in the MCA president contest?
That does not arise at all. I could lose and win, and it is the same with me. When I lost last year to Ong Tee Keat, I right away invited him to my division in Bakri and told the Chinese community over there that we have no problem in contesting against each other.
When we contest based on principles, we can still remain friends.
What compelled me to ditch BN?- Malaysiakini
There has been much speculation recently in the media as what my next move in politics would be.
Today I make one of the most important decisions of my life, to leave the MCA and to join PKR. A few days ago, I resigned as chairman of MCA Bakri division, a post I have held for 23 years, freeing me to undertake a fresh struggle for the realisation of my vision for reforms. These are contained in the manifestos I wrote during the MCA presidential elections of 2005 and 2008.
Today I am persuaded that I am standing on the right side of history at a defining and critical moment of our nation's history. What has compelled me to do so?
The 2008 general elections witnessed the passionate desire of 52 percent of Peninsular Malaysians for change. This astounding voting power gave birth for the first time to a two-party system. As a result, we have seen a hitherto unseen phenomena of Umno leaders saying “if we do not change, the people will change the government".
Out of this desperation, Malaysians see the Umno-led government making some movement towards appeasing the people. That is the fruit of people's power.
Two-party system undermined by Umno
Today we see this nascent two-party system under threat, the unrelenting harassment by the Umno-led government to divide and destroy the two-party system, the hard-earned gains of last year's general election.
We see the abuse of power in the use of the federal institutions to harass, persecute and prosecute the leaders of the opposition, institutions that were supposed to protect the rights of the citizens
The tragic death of 30-year-old Teo Beng Hock is the consequence of one such institution going overboard in its action. The seizure of power in Perak, the wooing of PAS by Umno to form a unity government based on race and religion, the farcical persecution and prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim once again for sodomy despite the reports of two hospitals - one from Hospital Kuala Lumpur - to the contrary, all these are indicative of a pattern of attempts to topple this precious two-party system.
It seeks to remove the people's new-found choice to choose between two political fronts. If this conspiracy succeeds Umno will continue to be the dominant political party going back to its old ways unfettered.
It is in these times of trouble and crisis for PKR and Pakatan Rakyat that has precipitated my decision to join them. It is in these difficult circumstances that I want to contribute in humility to the preservation of this two-party system. My hope is that ordinary Malaysians will stand up and be counted in the struggle to protect, preserve and promote the growth of this system. Count me in.
There are other reasons why I am joining PKR. I see in Anwar a kindred spirit seeking for change, for deep and genuine reforms. I know also that multiracial political parties caring for all races is the way forward.
I know that I am leaving the comfort and security of my present life for a road less travelled, a tough and rough road and that ahead of me awaits hardships. I am prepared for this last hurrah of my life. May God bless our endeavours, our struggle. CHANGE!
Chua Jui Meng
Former MCA vice-president and former health minister