- John 13:36
Relax, you anwaristas – today is UMNO + MCA bashing day ;-) but this evening or tomorrow ........? ;-)
Josh Hong, a damn fine man and one of my favourite columnists at Malaysiakini [though I don’t always agree with him ;-) ] wrote Wither MCA in Umno's clasp, a most timely piece after the recent tsunamic general election, essentially asking the MCA that eternal question “Quo vadis” (whither goest thou?).
Hong wrote: “Despite its symbiotic relationship with the ‘mainstream’ Chinese media and the abundant supply of spin doctors, MCA failed miserably to establish itself as the party of the Chinese in the general election last March. Since then, there have been calls for it to quit the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).”
Hong went on to demonstrate that the seemingly momentous leadership happenings in the MCA, such as Ling Liong Sik’s resignation or Ong Ka Ting’s declination of a place in the new cabinet, had not caused even a stir in UMNO, indicating the MCA's insignificance and lack of influence or impact in the BN.
“Ong KT ta’mahu jadi menteri? Yawwnnn, ho hum, bagi MCA quota yang biasa, 4 kerusi lah. Siapa MCA nak pilih menjadi menteri, terserah kepada mereka; WTF cares.”
Basically Hong was showing that to the UMNO of today, the role of MCA in the government was mere window dressing. Gone were the days when a MCA man, Tan Siew Sin was the nation’s Finance Minister.
My uncle told me that when Tun Razak was PM, he gave a special instruction to the military to salute Tan Siew Sin, even though only the PM and Defence Minister were entitled to such military salutation.
It was an indication of the respect that the PM had for Tan Siew Sin and perhaps even the feelings of the Chinese community, to show that the MCA was considered as a peer in the Perikatan (Alliance, the Barisan Nasional predecessor).
Compared that with the case of Ong Tee Keat (then Deputy Higher Education) who was castigated by the cabinet because he raised a case of corruption where officials misused funds meant for Chinese schools. The allegation of corruption was subsequently verified as true by then Works minister Samy Vellu.
But the shocking outcome was DPM Najib [aiyah, maybe I shouldn’t have posted this until I receive payment for the several invoices I had billed him wakakaka ;-)] was his bullsh*t that the cabinet chewing of Ong was on 'principles', what I termed as form rather than substance.
He said the cabinet’s reprimand of Ong for alleging officials' misuse of funds meant for Chinese schools' refurbishment was a matter of ‘principle’ and that the ‘facts’ of Ong’s allegation was entirely a different matter.
Form was for his cousin’s face [Education Minister Hishamuddin) whilst substance was the fact of corruption by government officials.
… which meant that he didn't want to 'touch' the issue of corruption with a 10-foot pole.
… and what about the real ‘principle’?
Well, it’s the cabinet 'principle' of ensuring an UMNO leader must never be embarrassed by a non-UMNO leader, especailly a MCA bloke.
I had blogged previously:
In Boleh Land, a person who raised issues of corruption or passed on embarrassing but factual messages to the powers-that-be gets shot. The emperors (and we have many big and little ones all around) don't like to be told the stark truth about their stark nakedness, and that's a stark fact of life here.
That’s why Ong was reprimanded for (justifiably) criticising the Education Ministry (and by default Minister Hishamuddin) over pathetic management of funds for the repair work, while OTOH, the infamous Cyclops, who had brazenly asked Customs to close one eye to his ‘irregularity’, is still around in the Monkey House, called the Malaysian Parliament, to roam freely around to pass uncouthly remarks at lady MPs.
For more, read my previous posts:
(1) Corruption 'Fact' for DPM Najib & Hishamuddin
(2) What the cabinet reprimanded Ong Tee Keat for!
(3) Najib riled with Ong Tee Keat's last laugh!
(4) "No sorry please, we're UMNO Youth leaders"
(5) Apathetic Chinese marginalising themselves?
Hong gave another UMNO-MCA master-serf contrasting behaviour. He related the case of former DPM Musa Hitam chiding the MCA when the Chinese-based party was split down the middle in 1984, to best stay outside the BN until it could resolve its issues. Hong said it was ‘a piece of ‘advice’ that sent chills through MCA leadership.’
Chills only? What about red faces at being insulted with Musa Hitam's pordah?
But when UMNO was in strife in 1987, with the Malay party in turmoil in its most intensive power struggle in history, the MCA could have similarly told UMNO off, for the party to temporarily leave the coalition in the interest of the government and the country?
Of course the MCA kept its mouth shut, as would a junior nothing-ness party. By the examples above, Hong was proving that equal partnership did not nor does not exist in the BN.
Readers, please distinguish between ‘equal partnership’ and the concept of ‘primus inter pares’ or ‘first among equals’. There is no doubt the UMNO is first among equals, except that in the BN there is no ‘equal’.
Hong was very blunt, saying the absence of the MCA from the government wouldn’t bother the Chinese community so long as the government (minus the MCA) ensures the economic cake is sufficient for the people.
Hong asserted that “All the MCA power struggles in the past were driven by selfish interests, bereft of vision and ideology. Still reeling from the historic shock losses, this is perhaps an opportune time for the MCA leadership to open up a genuine and far-reaching debate on the party’s future.”
OTOH, my family believes that the MCA had done good in the past, but apart from the social welfare work of people like Michael Chong, that was eons ago, just prior to 1957 when it fought for citizenship rights for Chinese Malaysians. OK, it has also contributed well for Chinese education and institutions like TAR university.
But other than these, the MCA vis-à-vis UMNO has been generally in 'hidup segan, mati ta'mahu' mode, akin at times to a mute being stung by hornets!
A month or so, after the last general election I posted Quo Vadis MCA?
In 1969 it was confronted with a major crossroad; today in 2008 it has arrived at another, where its decision will be scrutinised by a more discerning community.
So … Mah Hua, arn chnua ah?