By Koh Jun Lin
MCA Selayang coordinator Jessie Ooi said yesterday that she does not mind her ‘Ms Tow Truck’ moniker.
“No matter what’s the name or nickname, I think it’s just a name. If people like it and called me that, I will answer. No problems,” she told reporters at a press conference prior to her ‘meet the people’ dinner function.
When asked to confirm that she did not mind the name, she laughed, saying, “I even called myself that in the last few days,” adding that it was akin to children slapping nicknames on each other.
Ooi (left) said that she even received a letter yesterday expressing unyielding support, including a suggestion that she set up her own tow truck company.
On the other hand, she also revealed that detractors have been harassing her by phone and SMS, even leaving her phone number on public toilets with a note saying that she offers “good service”.
“Maybe next time, no one would dare to ask questions at debates anymore,” she joked.
Rise to fame history
The event at Kota Warisan Flats in Selayang, Selangor last night was one Ooi’s first public functions since being thrown into the limelight on Feb 18, when a question she posed during the debate between MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng went viral on Facebook.
In the much-shared video clip, she loudly asked Lim, the Penang chief minister, about assessment rate hikes in his state and the indiscriminate towing of cars there.
Ooi had since expressed regret that the question caused a misunderstanding, saying that she could not pose her question properly because of time constraints and got emotional in the heated debate.
She had clarified that she was referring to the failure to lower assessment rates in Selangor as promised, the parking situation in Lebuh Pantai, Penang, and did not imply that Penang Island Municpal Council officers were attacking people.
“Looking at the bright side, I should thank the people who made me famous. I never thought of becoming famous, only to work hard to serve the people without asking for anything in return,” she said yesterday.
She said that her term as coordinator ended on March 1, but she had been told to continue until notified otherwise.
True blue MCA member
However, she added that she would continue to help people regardless of whether she is re-appointed to the position, which she has held for nine months.
In her speech at the opening of the function, Ooi broke down while thanking her friends for organising the dinner to cheer her up after the slip-up with her questioning and falling ill, and the multiracial audience of around 60 for being present despite the heavy rain, making the tent-covered venue uncomfortable.
Ooi was accompanied by her husband at the event.
“I’m so happy that in two days of SMS-ing, many people came even though they are busy.
“So I wish to give, many, many thanks. But never mind, as a politician… ” she said before losing her composure.
“… as a politician, I understand we need to face any problem, and this had been a big challenge for me, Jessie Ooi, to step forward, serve the people sincerely, without asking for anything in return, but to perform my duty as Selayang parliamentary coordinator,” she continued 12 seconds later to an applauding audience.
Her speech ended with her Chinese supporters cheering “Jessie, jia you (an all-purpose Chinese cheer expressing support, meaning ‘step on the gas’).”