Sim Kwang Yang, another of my faves at malaysiakini wrote The Chinese dilemma Pt 1: Clash of the titans? where he discussed the possibility of MCA President Ong Ka Ting contesting in the Bukit Bintang constituency.
That will be akin to Ong entering the DAP’s hor siew or tiger’s lair.
In Chinese parlance, when one enters the tiger’s lair, it means that one has move into the heartland of the enemy. The danger is real and imminent.
Bukit Bintang has been the heartland of the DAP party, where once Lee Lam Thye, champion of the common people, particularly the locals regardless of race, won the seat in election after election with quite obscene majorities, sometimes well over 10,000!
If any MCA members wanted to commit political suicide, or were picked by the party’s leader for political sacrifice or oblivion, then they would stand in Bukit Bintang (BB) against invincible Lee. I wonder whether those former MCA candidates were awarded the party’s equivalent of the SP for gallantry, or they were laughed at (by their own party) for being sacrificial lambs?
As we know, BB sits right at the heart of the nation’s capital. As Sim wrote: “It is a small area of high population concentration, embracing many of the old streets and back lanes that make up the traditional KL Chinatown. Ever since independence, it has always been a DAP stronghold.”
A bit of gerrymandering here where the pro DAP voters (thus lost to the BN) were compressed like sardines into one constituency.
What had brought up the rumours of Ong Ka Ting standing there in the coming election had been a front page report by the Oriental Daily on July 29.
Sim said: "Since then, the Chinese press and the Internet have been flooded with endless comments and analysis on this revelation. The front page story has not been denied or confirmed by the MCA, although there is no shortage of response from both sides of the political divide, treating the suggestion as a kind of interesting possibility.”
“ A prominent commentator and a known MCA member opined that the news could have been leaked deliberately by the think-tank buried deep within the inner sanctum of the MCA headquarters. It is a tactical move targeted at testing public opinion on the issue ... It is also probably designed to redirect public attention back to MCA offensive in their media war with their arch nemesis, the DAP.”
“In any case, for those familiar with the perennial rivalry between MCA and DAP, the story that Ong Ka Ting may move from his safe but mixed seat somewhere in Johore to the overwhelmingly Chinese constituency of Bukit Bintang makes a lot of sense.”
The MCA has always been laughed at by Chinese because throughout our political history, especially since 1969, very few MCA members dared to stand in Chinese-majority constituencies for fear of being annihilated by the DAP.
Most of the fault for their unpopularity with the Chinese has been UMNO’s doing, where the senior partner of the BN (and formerly Perikatan) had regularly undermined the MCA’s standing in the eyes of the Chinese community.
Examples may be found in the bigoted comments during the last UMNO general assembly, Hishamuddin’s keris waving and marginalisation of Chinese educationists Dong Jiao Zong, KJ’s accusation of the Chinese having sinister intention against the Malays, DPM’s declaration of Malaysia as an Islamic State by the DPM, etc, and with UMNO expecting the MCA to be silent like a mute or even to support Ah Hnia (big brother).
As I have blogged often before, MCA’s greatest foe (in terms of undermining its political credibility) is UMNO and not the DAP.
And UMNO wants it that way too, to keep a MCA nicely bonsai-ed. Its bonsai-ing tools are in fact the DAP and the Gerakan Party.
If Ong Ka Ting does stand in BB and pulls it off (not just scrapping through but winning with a respectable majority) he will be the greatest MCA president ever, with his name immortalised in Chinese Malaysian history.
There has been such a precedent, when Lee San Choon confronted DAP’s Dr Chen Man Hin in another (then) DAP stronghold of Seremban. I posted Stung by 'hornets', mute as only MCA can be over at BolehTalk where I stated:
"… apparently Lee San Choon chose to leave the MCA with flair, by doing something which no MCA leader had ever dared do - he deliberately moved into Seremban, a DAP stronghold, to confront DAP strongman Dr Chen head on in the general election."
"Some said Lee did that just to thumb his nose at UMNO's leadership as if saying "Look, the MCA could win without hiding behind UMNO's sarong", perhaps in repudiation of the oft-remarked sarcasm (sometimes by UMNO members) that MCA candidates couldn't win in Chinese-majority constituencies and require Malay support to get into parliament or state assemblies. Of course Lee won and then resigned from politics for good."
If Ong takes up the challenge he could be, as I said, a legend, even gradually becoming invincible in his own right like a Lee Lam Thye, because BB is far more of a tiger's lair than Seremban ever was.
And it’s quite do-able, because he isn’t likely to face another Lee Lam Thye. On top of that, Sim wrote that “die-hard support for the DAP in Bukit Bintang has been waning in recent decades for various reasons. In the last general election in 2003, fighting a little-known lady candidate from the MCA, Fong Kui Lun scrapped through with a razor thin margin of over 300 votes, after many recounts!”
Sim also said: "Ong’s problem is one of legitimacy in his capacity as the leader representing the interest of some five or six million Malaysian Chinese. ........"
"Ong’s public persona can be described as nondescript at best. He is a pale shadow of his predecessors, his greatest claim to fame being the forgettable slogan for “life-long learning”. (What do you expect from a teacher turned politician?)"
"But if and when Ong decides to contest in Bukit Bintang, he would be on course for a re-engineering of his public image. He would be seen as a man of courage and principle, ready to take the risk of losing in an opposition stronghold, proving the point that a top MCA leader pursues public office and power not for the sake of self interest, but for the sake of increasing the strength and meaning of Chinese participation in government within the BN framework of power sharing."
"... The opposition party claims that, if the MCA leaders continue to win on the strength of Umno and MIC support in constituencies with a significant Malay and Indian presence, then the MCA cannot be said to represent the aspirations of the Chinese. Worse still, the MCA will have to kowtow to Umno forever, because their electoral success depends so much upon Umno domination of Malay politics throughout the Peninsula."
"By going into Bukit Bintang, Ong Ka Ting will end once and for all this talk of MCA being cowardly self-promoting opportunistic politicians. A battle to settle the issue of who will genuinely represent Malaysian Chinese will then begin."
Ong's moment of glory awaits him. Will he dare do it, to become the greatest MCA leader there ever is?