Unity among Chinese nothing to do with MCA

By Stanley Koh | February 14, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

The Chinese community in rejecting MCA at the 2008 general election is indicative that the community has not only awaken to the fact the party is no longer relevant and effective in representing its interests, but that it has expanded its political horizon towards a two-party system.

Moreover, new perceptions are emerging that the unity of the Chinese community is no longer dependable or factored by the prevailing leadership status of MCA.

Today’s scenario remain status quo even as in 1988, the Chinese Guilds and Associations blamed MCA leadership under Dr Ling Liong Sik as weak and did not truly live up to the aspirations of the community.

MCA in short has failed to feel the pulse of the community as many younger generations are colour blind and have no confidence in a race-based policy-making nation.

Its survival is threatened by the growth of a two-party system nurtured by a growing population of old and young voters irrespective of racial groupings.

In 1988, Michael Yeoh currently Asli’s CEO who was the chief administrative director presented a classified paper on a number of options for MCA to choose at the crossroads.

MCA was at a political crossroads during a time when Umno was dragged to the courts and was declared unlawful.

When Umno Baru was formed to replace the Umno that was declared unlawful, MCA led by Ling was placed in a leadership dilemma in terms of placing its patronage and loyalty.

Pros and cons of partnership

Five options were stated in the classified paper for MCA leadership to consider.

Firstly, accept the status quo of Umno led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Secondly, MCA leaders to resign all government posts but remain in BN.

The third option was to quit BN and stay as independents.

To consider whether MCA should quit BN and form new alliances as the fourth option and the last resort to de-register the party.

Umno was split into Team A (Umno Baru quoted as status quo) and a splinter group under Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah leading Team B.

Michael in listing out the “pros and cons’ argued the advantages and disadvantages of MCA facing the crossroads.

“Merits supporting the status quo of Umno Baru would prevent uncontrollable outcome of an Emergency Rule and that might allow a two-party system to take root,” stated the paper.

“By threatening of a MCA withdraw from BN might place the party in a better bargaining power to negotiate as such a move could trigger other component parties leaving the coalition.

“Perhaps, MCA can get some crumbs and even more crumbs,” Michael wrote.

MCA threatened by two-party system

Arguments against supporting Umno Baru (Team A) included that MCA should not be dragged down with the sinking ship and that the MCA could no longer trust Umno under the Dr Mahathir’s leadership because of the leadership’s arrogance and failure to deliver its promises to MCA.

“The mood of the people clamouring for change expected MCA to be a leader and not a follower,” the 1988 classified paper stated.

Today the MCA under the leadership of Chua remains at a crossroads.

Threatened by a two-party system and a predicament of worsening lack of confidence from Malaysian voters, the MCA’s future political survival is at stake.

It is becoming a political parasite to Umno and its survival is doubtful even within Chinese majority electoral constituencies.

Hence, how relevant or true is MCA’s claim that the two-party system is becoming a race system? The answer perhaps lies within Umno, the predator of race-based policies.

MCA is misguided into challenging DAP onto a formal debate on the race system.

The historical evidence above justified that the answers should lie within the MCA-Umno hegemony since both are predominantly race-based parties.

The Chinese proverb – “one step in the wrong direction will cause a thousand years of regret” – remains true today.

Would the same be happening if MCA in the 50s had joined a multiracial platform instead of a single race-based party called Umno?

Indeed, wisdom lies in the following Chinese proverb, which says: “ren jian li er bu jian hai, yu jian shi er bu jian gou”. Translated it means MCA at that time “like a fish only saw the bait but not the hook”.

Stanley Koh is a former head of MCA’s research unit. He is a FMT columnist.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 12:57 pm

    What the MCA really needs is an untainted leadership which can go eye-to-eye with UMNO and say “if you don’t do this or that transparently, then we are out of Barisan.” You will not only gain the respect of the Chinese, but all Malaysians regardless of race.

    However, the stark reality is that the MCA leadership has been tainted, and UMNO with its stranglehold on the enforcement agencies can initiate action against virtually every member of the MCA Exco. You don’t play poker when you have few chips left. These people obviously think that they should invest their few chips with the UMNO hand.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 1:01 pm

    ///Translated it means MCA at that time “like a fish only saw the bait but not the hook”.///

    Yeah, maybe they only saw contracts, perks, fame and positions offered to them by UMNO and totally failed to see the needs of the Chinese community.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 2:24 pm

    The problems of the MCA pre-date 1988. It started when Lim Chong Eu formed Gerakan instead of accepting his loss within MCA. The man who fought with Tunku later joined back a BN began to be dominated by starting to be hawkish and hegemonistic UMNO.

    And instead of learning, they indulged in even more of the same politicking with Tan Koon Swan and Ling Liong Sik and STILL they continue to do even now they are near-death.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 2:28 pm

    ///“Perhaps, MCA can get some crumbs and even more crumbs,” Michael wrote./// Hey don’t forget your ex MCA top leaders are made to take the rap for PKFZ with one carrying the Tun title being first to be charged for cheating the PM/cabinet and government by non disclosure to the Cabinet of an additional interest rate of 7.5 per cent per annum on the purchase price of the land for the PKFZ project. On the other had nobody is charged for the NFC Scandal. If you have any honour you should just take one of Michael’s options to leave the coalition and not think of crumbs and more crumbs.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 2:47 pm

    Crumbs are better than appearing in court being charged with unnatural sex or with inflating curi2 Malaysia advertising contracts. That’s their dilemma, isn’t it ?

  6. #6 by Godfather on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 2:59 pm

    UMNO doesn’t give a damn about the well-being of the country at the rate they are stealing on billions and billions of ringgit on defence contracts and infrastructure contracts. MCA knows that the future of the country is in peril but instead of voicing it out and trying to publicise the wrongdoings, they keep quiet and they use their mainstream media to provide the spin that we can all see from afar. You think the Chinese are not angry with that ?

  7. #7 by sotong on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 4:25 pm

    As long as one could make another $….nobody cares!

  8. #8 by Loh on Tuesday, 14 February 2012 - 5:35 pm

    I like to ask CSL that at the GE13, MCA has less elected representatives than they had after 308 in 2008, and assuming that CSL honoured his promise and declares that MCA is out of the government, what would CSL do if MCA Deputy President LTL, probably supported by deputy minister wks declares that they are with the government?

    Can someone from DAP ask this question of CSL on 18th February 2012 at the debate between CSL and LGE?

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