Chua Soi Lek, the Malaysian Chinese community leader and cabinet minister who fell from grace after being linked to a sex tape, is returning to the political scene - and, one by one reclaiming the posts he vacated after the scandal. But the rehabilitation of Dr Chua has sparked intense debate about whether it is ethical for him to be returning to politics, even as VCDs of his extra-marital sexual escapade continue to sell in markets. There is speculation that he will soon seek the vacant presidency of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the biggest Chinese party. 'I have a right to contest [various positions] and the members are electing me,' he said when contacted yesterday. 'I don't want to say anything about the past but politically I am keeping my options open.' That troubles many within the party. 'Especially with the VCDs still selling in the night markets,' said a senior retired MCA leader, aligned with an anti-Chua faction, who did not want to be named. 'What is the ruling, where does the party stand on this?' he said. Dr Chua, 61, was Health Minister when he stunned the nation in January by admitting he was the unwitting star of a widely distributed sex video which showed him cavorting with a young woman who was clearly not his elderly wife. He quit his parliament seat and every post he held in the party and the government. But there is now nothing to prevent Dr Chua contesting his party's leadership as the party's rules say that top positions may be contested by any party delegate. Despite the sex scandal, Dr Chua was elected as branch chairman in his home district of Batu Pahat in southern Johor state last month. Then he was elected as a delegate to the MCA national assembly in October, qualifying to contest the presidency. And yesterday he was elected Batu Pahat MCA division chief, a powerful mid-level post in the party. The MCA's president for nine years, Ong Kah Ting, quit last month - taking blame for the party's poor showing in the March 8 general elections. Deputy president Chan Kong Choy is out of the race due to poor health. Among those seeking the presidency is Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, one of the five MCA vice-presidents, and Ng Yen Yen, head of the party's women's section. She is the first woman to seek the presidency in the party's 60-year history. 'The vacuum is so huge that Dr Chua is attracted to make a comeback but the sex scandal is a major handicap,' said political commentator James Wong. 'It is for the MCA grass roots to decide. Some MCA members are squeamish about Dr Chua's return but they are reluctant to talk about it publicly.' MCA member K.C. Lim said: 'Most MCA members see him as a victim in the video episode. His MCA enemies brought him down but they themselves were kicked out by the voters on March 8. 'But still ... I don't know,' he said when asked whether Dr Chua's bid was appropriate. It is not known who filmed the sex tape, but its distribution is widely linked to MCA factional fighting. One problem facing Dr Chua's presidential ambitions is the reluctance of other MCA heavyweights to run alongside him. 'He might fight as a lone ranger ... he might win considering his popularity but beyond that I don't know,' Mr Lim said.