MCA’s death knell gets louder

Stanley Koh | October 20, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

The party goes into a crucial annual assembly amidst doubts over its chances of recovery.


Chinese voters are no longer asking whether MCA will remain credible as part of the ruling coalition, but whether it will survive even as an opposition party.

The general belief is that it will do worse in the 13th general election than the bruising it got in 2008, and most of the blame is placed on Dr Chua Soi Lek’s leadership, or rather the lack of it.

At the party’s 59th annual general assembly this weekend, Chua will no doubt try to boost party morale in preparation for the impending election. Sources familiar with his style predict that he will use emotional rhetoric aimed at imbuing the rank and file with the fighting spirit necessary to pull off the miraculous feat of winning more seats than the party did in 2008.

He is also expected to emphasise that he has brought unity and stability to the party, as he has done on many occasions. His detractors in the party say the claim sounds more hollow and frivolous with each repetition.

Chua, 65, limped into the MCA presidency in April 2010, carrying a tremendous amount of moral baggage. Since then the party has plunged ever more deeply into the political abyss, with no convincing sign that it will recover any time before the election.

Such is the pessimism within a sizeable section of the membership. But many prefer to whisper to each other about their grievances and frustrations rather than discuss them openly, mostly for fear of being accused of disloyalty in the face of a seemingly formidable Pakatan Rakyat, specifically DAP.

When Chua took over as the MCA’s ninth president, many party insiders regretted, saying the event was an ugly stain on the legacy of the third largest Chinese organisation in the world.

They were not referring only to the confession two years earlier that he was the protagonist in a widely distributed pornographic video, but also to his alleged plotting against rivals as he worked his way to the top. Some have said that his political machinations were even sleazier than his sexual indiscretion.

Details of the alleged plotting against former presidents Ong Ka Ting and Ong Tee Keat might one day emerge. For now, however, insiders claiming to be in the know would only speak in general terms, perhaps out of love for the party and in the hope that it will somehow tide over these trying times and one day regain its lost glory.

Recalling Chua’s assertion that he was not interested in any executive position in MCA, they say he was in fact all the while manoeuvring his way to the top, getting himself appointed as Barisan Nasional’s chief coordinator, and then contesting and winning the deputy presidency of MCA and eventually the presidency.

They accuse him of being behind the “Save MCA Campaign” that forced an open inquiry into a so-called “snoop squad”, which in turn undermined the credibility of then president Ong Ka Ting.

Glaring favouritism

They note that many of the party activists who lobbied for the March 2010 EGM that installed him as party president have been rewarded with ministerial and senatorial posts and top jobs in the party and agencies linked to the party. Others are potential candidates in the coming general election.

Such glaring favouritism makes nonsense of his claims of success in uniting the party. Detractors say he had better leave out any talk of unity in his speech this Saturday (today) unless he is not concerned about being called a liar.

Like Umno, MCA is facing the grim possibility of losing votes from even its traditional base of supporters. Analyses of figures from the 2008 election show that sizeable numbers of card-carrying members rejected both parties. The question now is not whether those members will return to the fold this time around, but how many more will join them in giving votes to the opposition.

What about Chinese voters not affiliated with either MCA or any of the opposition parties – the so-called fence sitters? Since they are not involved in any factional animosity, is there any chance that they are impressed enough by Chua’s leadership to give their votes to MCA?

“Me and my friends are not supportive of MCA as a party and consider its role as no longer relevant,” Gary Lim, a 32-year-old insurance executive, told FMT.

Lim, like many voters in his age group, said he resented being treated like a fool by MCA’s propaganda machine.

Referring to what he described as “distortions and lies” about PAS, he said: “It’s as if we’re all so ignorant, or we don’t have other sources of information.

“I have friends from all over Malaysia, and many are from Kelantan. They told me they are living harmoniously there. In fact, they even boast about how liberal the Kelantan government is. I’ve been told that there is even a place where a pork seller does his business close to a mosque.”

Lim said he doubted that the 13th general election would see MCA doing even as well as it did in 2008.

Tony Leong, 50, said Chua and his party appeared to be lacking in sincerity. He said MCA should look at itself in the mirror before accusing rival parties of neglecting their duties to the electorate.

“Recently,” he said, “I read in the news about an MCA leader accusing the opposition of not doing anything at all.

“That is a sweeping statement and a blatant lie. I live in Taman Perdana, Balakong. The opposition MP takes good care of the constituency in terms of rubbish collection, road repairs and even organising gotong royong.”

Food vendor David Yap, 51, said that if MCA were to win more than 15 parliamentary seats in the next election, it would be because of phantom votes. Yap believes there will be a lot of cheating, especially in Selangor, where BN is desperate to deny Pakatan a second term.

Yap, who claimed to be an avid follower of current events through print and online media, said he could not cite any achievement that MCA had made under Chua’s leadership.

“I don’t know what MCA has done apart from barking at the opposition,” he said. “Perhaps it will be more effective as an opposition party. But we’ll see.”

  1. #1 by lkt-56 on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 1:58 pm

    MCA is not only irrelevant but they are also lost. True to their out dated communal approach to politics they continue to pursue the issue of Hudud. We are tired of their scare mongering. Their current leadership have no idea of how to stir their party into relevance. I believe that most of us feel this way about MCA: We couldn’t care less what you say now. You have failed and now all we want is for you to fade away. It has been a bad dream…

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 2:35 pm

    The problem with MCA pounding the Hudud scare is that MCA is no bulwark against Hudud that is also being championed by UMNO right-wingers who in reality controls the party.

    There really is nothing the non-Malays in this country can do in several decades if the Malays want Hudud.

    There really is only a couple of ways to possible check the march of Hudud.

    First is by fufilling the original promise of Malaysia Agreement for Sarawak & Sabah that promises allow them to secede if they are robbed of their religious choice.

    If the first does not work, all the remain is negotiation for Hudud implementation and the key terms is that those who don’t wish to be part of it must be allowed to ‘exit’ i.e., to leave with their asset guaranteed to be purchased at no loss and somewhere else for them to be. This would make it prohibitively expensive and made the implementation long but still possible for those determined to have it as well as the fairest means..For DAP, it must be a last resort if it fails to stop PAS and likely with part of UMNO

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 2:43 pm

    MCA would be a more credible party if it could turn itself into an independent party instead of hiding under Umno’s apron.

  4. #4 by Loh on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Affirmative action in the US

    October 10th, 2012
    05:43 PM ET
    5 things to know about affirmative action
    By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

    ///(CNN) – In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, ordering that federally funded projects “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.”///–the author

    In Malaysia ‘affirmative action’ means that the government treats its employees and recruitment of its staff with full regard on their race, colour, religion, and the origin of their ancestors. Malaysian government under UMNO claims that other countries, in particular USA also practices ‘affirmative action’ But UMNO government ignores the fact that what Malaysia practices in NEP counters what USA wanted to stop by its affirmative action.

    ///Five decades later, a young white woman and a Texas school’s admissions policy stand central to a monumental Supreme Court case. The justices began hearing oral arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of racial preferences in consideration of the students it accepts.

    It could change how schools determine whom they let in and whom they keep out.

    Justices to re-examine use of race in college admissions

    Affirmative action began as a simple idea to expand equality and has morphed into a charged and divisive topic.

    What is affirmative action, and how is it different from when it began?

    Here are five things to know. What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.///–the author

    In Malaysia university enrollment based on race is official policy. To expedite matter, the government even established the MARA University which accepts only Malays and the student population in iUTM equates the student population of all other public universities combined.

    ///1. Why it was started: The earliest implementation of affirmative action policies, before Kennedy coined the phrase, began under President Franklin Roosevelt in the second World War. He banned discrimination in the government and those involved in “war-related” work.

    Later, President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded on Kennedy’s order to include women and signed the Civil Rights Act into law. He explained the purpose of affirmative action in this speech to Howard University’s 1965 graduating class:

    “And this is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom, but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity, but human ability; not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”

    Less known, though, is that President Richard B. Nixon created goals and time frames around the legislation. “We would not impose quotas, but would require federal contractors to show affirmative action’ to meet the goals of increasing minority employment,” he wrote in his memoirs.///–the author

    Malaysia had the affirmative action predates Kennedy’s declaration. Malaysia started it in 1957 with Article 153. The article has become the mother of all discrimination.

    ///2) Why it is controversial: Quotas. The idea of a limited number of admissions or jobs for members of underrepresented groups and any type of preferential treatment runs counter to how we view our American dream, critics argue.

    That idea became central in the Massachusetts Senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Warren was accused of using her Native American ancestry for jobs but has denied doing so.

    Is she or isn’t she Native American?

    In 1978, the landmark Regents of California v. Allan Bakke case made racial quotas unconstitutional. Bakke, a white student, sued after twice being denied admission to medical school, challenging the special admissions used to admit minority groups.///–the author

    Malaysia government claims that racial quota is needed to ensure that the peace is not broken by organized group such as a political party. Malaysian constitution does not recognized quota, but UMNO government would claim that if it was not expressively forbidden, there is no restriction.

    ///3) How it’s changed: While affirmative action is usually spoken of in general terms, there is no singular policy or implementation of the ways in which affirmative action take shape in government organizations, colleges and corporations varies.

    Court cases continue to refine interpretations of how race is used at the university level. Some schools have experimented with a variety of ways of non-race-based models, like the Top 10 model that the University of Texas employs, to ensure the racial diversity of students.///–Malaysia

    Mahathir proudly claimed that he was accepted by others as one of them which effectively mean that he gave up his race. He wanted all others to follow his example so that there is no racial diversity in the country, let alone universities. Maybe Mahathir does not speak Malayalee at home.

    ///4) How we feel about it: In a 2009 Pew poll, the majority of Americans supported affirmative action but strongly disagreed about minority preference. And while most African Americans (58%) and Hispanics (53%) agreed that minorities should get preferential treatment, only 22% of whites agreed.///–the author

    In Malaysia the majority wants affirmative action which gives preferential treatment to the majority. Might is right.

    ///5) Where it exists: Though quotas have been outlawed in the United States, the European Union has had a recent push to punish companies whose boards aren’t composed of at least 40% women. And India, Brazil and Malaysia, among other countries, have laws and policies that address affirmative action in schools and throughout society.///–the author

    In Malaysia laws and policies address its own version of affirmative action which is the exact opposite of what is in the US.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 6:17 pm

    MCA needs a very thick skinned cunning man to be their President to try luck for 13th GE and Chua Soi Lek has all the qualifications.
    MCA has never stoop so low in the past.

  6. #6 by Winston on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 8:27 pm

    There is a strong possibility that no one from UMNO/BN will be left standing after GE13.
    So, we are back to a single party system with only the PR in Parliament!
    Like what Singapore had been for quite some time until they allow some opposition party members in just to have some opposition in Parliament!!

  7. #7 by tuahpekkong on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 9:47 pm

    UKM has already started its session over 1 ½ months ago and it has just come to MCA Youth’s knowledge that the University’s intake of ethnic Chinese students this year has fallen to below 10% of the total intake from almost 26% in 2008. Its youth chief is now clamouring for an explanation from UKM. Isn’t MCA youth a bit tardy in taking action?

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 10:18 pm

    At karaoke joints, parties, everywhere, people are raising up their hands, gesturing, dancing, singing, wishing and asking : ‘Why-M-C-A’?

    Is this the party’s death song and they are all celebrating ?

  9. #9 by drngsc on Saturday, 20 October 2012 - 10:55 pm

    Forget lame duck CSL and MCA. Let themself destruct. Let us concentrate on winning GE 13. We have much work to do.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. First to Bkt Jalil ( 3rd Nov )to emphasize clean, free and fair election. Then to GE 13, then to Putrajaya.

    Change we must. Change we can. Change we will.

  10. #10 by raven77 on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 12:27 am

    By 4pm …MCA youth have adjourned and followed their boss to nearby Jalan Hicks and Bukit Bintang…….that is the MCA the world knows……an MCA that will sell even their mothers to get that crumb contract thrown to them by UMNO…

  11. #11 by monsterball on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 1:48 am

    Never in the history under Mahathir’s Umno B has MCA got Malaysian Chinese majority votes.
    It was always been supporting DAP…and now with PAS and keDAILan teaming up with DAP…the Malaysian Chinese votes are made easier than 12th GE….YET…Chua Soi Lek said…the Chinese are supporting MCA more than DAP.
    For 35 years..not one MCA President dared to talk so arrogant like CSL.
    I guess the one he can bluff is only Najib.

  12. #12 by monsterball on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 2:01 am

    Chua Soi Lek is making all sorts of wild accusations…all sorts of nonsensical predictions….just to make a political speech.
    MCA is dying and everyone knows….MCA should pull out from BN and stand for election as MCA…or team up with one small party opposing Umno B…if they refuse to wind up.
    Just look at all the Ministers and senators…not one is elected by the people.
    MCA is a first class puppet to Umno B with no shame.
    They lost all the respect from Malaysian Chinese…and the few thousands sticking to the party are purely for selfish reasons…..hoping to get favors from Umno b…to enrich themselves.
    MCA has always been an opportunist party for personal gains…under Mahathir who encouraged corruptions and is music to these low class shoe shine boys.

  13. #13 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 7:15 am

    Politicians live or die upon their credibility.

    In any other political universe, CSL would have been buried without any fanfare, tails between legs, red-faced and muted.

    How can CSL still go around to tokkok – that is only becos political eunuchs are nurtured by UMNO for the abattoir.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 8:41 am

    MCA’s Death Knell gets louder cos’ it couldn’t really identify clearly or do much about its problems of recovering Chinese support by dispelling its lapdog image. It zeros on DAP as its nemesis whereas its real problem/nemesis is its patron & big brother UMNO about whom it could nothing to moderate. Not only has it marginalized Chinese community over all these 50 yrs of Ketuanan about which MCA could nothing but it also has now written off MCA by deciding to go alone to win by only Malay/Muslim votes, as shown by Perkasa & Utusan being left alone to say what they want to say including making Christians bogeyman; MCA’s lapdog or underdog status perceived when its past leaders alone were made to take the fall over PKFZ scandal by cheating charges that the one cheated (TDM himself) said he was never cheated! MCA has to rely vicariously on the credibility of Najib’s 1 Malaysia platform which itself is now undermined by UMNO’s Right Wing. The only small leverage that MCA is allowed is to attack hudud because that marks wedge between DAP & PAS and even that it does clumsily by saying stupidly that Nik Aziz’s statements implied that he condoned Muslims raping NonMuslims! MCA’s traditional supporter Dong Zong also turns against it by bringing up an alleged agreement in the 1960s between the party and the Government to limit the number of Chinese independent schools. What’s telling of it spinning to death throes is your own allies (UMNO & Dong Zong) losing faith, disrespecting & turning against you: it shows that you are perceived as being able to do much to help in their cause! The young who have joined voter bank are not supportive of communal compact of he UMNO/MCA/MIC kind, has outlived its relevance. Besides DAP in Penang is able to project a competent image. So what last minute reprieve has MCA got to save itself?

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 8:44 am

    Typo omission- “….it shows that you are perceived as NOT being able to do much to help in their cause!…”

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 9:09 am

    The current proceedings and rhetoric coming out of the MCA AGM just screams to me how as a community we have failings that can be simply devastating to some of us. They are hell-bent on pushing down the road of negative campaigning – mudslinging, fear mongering until the very end – meaning the very last dime MCA/UMNO will fund them. These people, who have already been given more than they deserve given their mediocrity can’t find a better way and yet lay death-grip claim to societal and community leadership..

    We have always had very selfish and brutish people among our community. How else do you explain that the Malayan communist party was largely Chinese when the communist movement in China was misguided to blame the capitalist rather than the monarchist, and we in South East Asia had it so much better? How else do you explain the significant number who betrayed us to the Japanese despite our national hatred? We have a shameful tradition of Benedict Arnoldism – from a community that is hundreds of years old in this parts not to mention origin civilisation of thousands of years old..

    Lets not kid ourselves what it really is. MCA is simply aping the part of Western political parties of using negative politics – but without their redeeming qualities of strong institutions, strong patriotism, liberal ideals, private sector wealth monetarily and socially..

    The young smart people of opposition may not have all the answers and likely too inexperienced. But at least its not a path of cynicism that is not going to be successful for most of us, can only be devastating to at least some of us and gain only few.

    Life is more than just getting by and live to fight another day, its about taking destiny in one’s hand or at least trying to. Some well minded Malays are trying to and we have the best chance of helping them in decades. No matter what even the worst fears, its still worth trying…

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 12:48 pm

    Every community – not just Chinese- has its share of very selfish and brutish people. Mariam Mokhtar just recently wrote negatively about UMNO Malays. There is no reason to think Chinese have more selfish genes than others. Some say its Chinese education or culture but I am unable to find anything intelligible to support this hypothesis too. Surely after 5000 years of civilization & Confucius’s “don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do to you” couldn’t have meant nothing! And Kewilo Adam Smith was first to extol importance of selfishness in his memorable declaration of 1776 that “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Likely all human beings of whatever race are born selfish necessary for self preservation but over time they learn through values imparted from parents schools and socializing the importance of regard of others ie cooperativeness and recognition and respect of others rights to live harmoniously and happily. People lapse back to extreme selfishness and become opportunistic by reason of uncertainty about the life and future and stress of immediate circumstances. If MCA present leaders/followers appear selfish its because of their being stressed about uncertainty of their political future: same too for those supporting UMNO! People stressed and focused on immediate well being or downfall cannot afford the luxury of thinking for others!

  18. #18 by sotong on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 2:01 pm

    They had misrepresented the Chinese community for far too long by representing a small % of the Chinese community interest, mostly business interest.

    The Chinese community in M’sia is very diverfied and culturally enriched……MCA could not properly and fairly represent the diversed and complex Chinese community interest who are mostly non political.

  19. #19 by monsterball on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 2:05 pm

    3 full pages at Star today….showing how happy Chua Soi Lek and MCA members are to note Malaysian Chinese are supporting Najib and MCA.
    Najib should immediately declare 13th GE date with such good news.
    What is he waiting for????.

  20. #20 by monsterball on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 2:24 pm

    At the MCA gathering….Najib said country under PR for one year….finito….no need 4 years.
    How can PR ruin the country when they keep on talking to stamp out corruptions and save money on huge over charged projects and tenders…that swallow all our money?
    PR focus on spending billions to give Malaysians better roads,,,better salaries…living conditions and even that billions are nothing compared to hundreds of billions stolen by Umno B rouges to enrich their family and friends …plus some stack up somewhere for the party.
    That RM40 million smuggled in is the tiny amount stacked up “somewhere”….got caught..yet MACC dare not act.

  21. #21 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 2:39 pm

    Very revealing that MCA keep harping on negative politics to gain Chinese votes but Najib basically betrayed his thinking the Chinese votes are gone and drum racist politics for the Malay votes for MCA…

    It really has become a great experiment to see if DAP consistent multi-racial message can cross racial lines this time to eliminate the MCA…Can DAP win Malay votes by telling them that on one hand MCA scaring the Chinese with Islam and at the same time Najib tells Malay to support them?

  22. #22 by lkt-56 on Sunday, 21 October 2012 - 11:06 pm

    I don’t know what you guys out there (my fellow Malaysian Chinese) think but I am truly fed up of the Hudud stuffs paraded by MCA and their nonsense about Nik Aziz condoning rape of non-muslims. MCA must think that we are a bunch of imbeciles to buy that kind of arguments. My opinion of the MCA is at it lowest ebb now. It is clear now that they are unable to re-brand themselves in order to survive the trend towards non-communal politics and provide political discourse aimed at an increasingly critical group of people who are well informed and better educated. The MCA president is intelligent enough to know that MCA has to change before they can regain their appeal to the Malaysian Chinese but instead of working towards that obvious course of action, they chose to parade Hudud and all other nonsensical arguments. In the old days when there is no alternative media, the people may possibly be misled but certainly not in this day and age of electronic information age!

  23. #23 by SENGLANG on Monday, 22 October 2012 - 3:30 pm

    CSL has nothing to offer except Hudud. He has nothing left to say except the theory of PAS dominants. Hs has nothing much to offer when facing his party except all faults was due to DAP.

    He was the weakest MCA leader ever produced in Malaysia political history. He is the champion of fears and threats to and mainly Chinese voters. He offer the threats that if MCA not doing better than last 308 GE they choose not to be in Cabinet but forget to say if any of MCA candidate will ever be elected at all.

    He as the MCA president will not dare to offer himself as winnable candidate as if only if he faced up with his sex baggage. But we never know he will still offer himself to be one for his thick skin.

    MCA is the lost child in Malaysia politic crying for help only left with a lame president who can only offer fears and threats in looking for the last survival chance.

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