Saturday, July 12, 2008

MCA at a crossroad

Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards
- 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?


  1. No comments yet? I am waiting ...

  2. there it goes, the mindset of the PM in waiting. Corruption is ok and kept within the inner circles. God forbids he becomes the PM.

  3. KTemocuvnv

    Tell you more if you are interested , however that can only be done after the 27th of this month . So kaytee if you are interested to hear what I have to say , why don't we meet .I am also from Penang .We can talked about MCA over a cup of coffee .

  4. Ktemoc is an Aussie, lah.

  5. I must say that what passes as MCA / UMNO bashing on your part is quite factual and criticisms on the organisation.

    But your attacks on Anwar are Ad Hominem.

  6. Rumour has it that PAS will join the BN when MCA leaves the coalition.
    Defenitely there has been talk between UMNO and PAS, meaning the rumour had some substance and the anticipated event is just a matter of time.

  7. The way I see it.

    The message in the March election is very clear and UMNO, Gerakan and MCA are taking stock of that particular lesson. The reforms already started and more are coming.

    On the other hand PR get high headed after the recent victory and showing their true colour. More drama are coming.

  8. KT
    BN lost in the last GE is mainly due to the fact that there were internal squabbles within the main component parties ie MCA , MIC , Gerakan and UMNO . That power abuse and the Hishamuddin/keris issue has now been tampered off and I don't see it as an issue in the next GE . Corruption , Judiciary issues are in the process of being address so that is a progress by itself .

    The fact that DAP and PKR and PAS running the five states has shown that there are short comings in the way they run the State Governments .
    PKR - Selangor already having problems with several issues like the suspension and eventual sacking of the Manteri Besar's aide for soliciting funds thru the use of the MB's letter heads , the award of rubbish collection contracts , the appointment of councillors etc etc .
    PAS - In Kedah awarding contracts for logging in water catchment areas which will probably affect the water catchment areas in Penang as Penang draws a lot of its water from the Kuala Muda River .Big issue on this if they go ahead , we are watching .
    DAP - Penang , we have Guan Eng talking like a opposition gun slinger forgetting that he is running the government . Issue is when the Federal Government decides to cancel the PORR and Monorail he came out gun blazing demanding that Pak Lah gives Penang RM4.5 Billion to allow them to do the projects on their own in the MSM . He has forgotten that the people who voted for him DID NOT want the PORR project , especially in those areas like Jesselton Heights , Gottlieb Rd and Gurney Drive . On top of that you think Pak Lah will give him the money thru his demands in the main stream medias ?? He must be an ass to do that . If PM were to give him , PM is finish , giving in to demands by the DAP . On the other hand he should have gone quietly to PM's office , talk to PM and maybe , I repeat MAYBE might get one of the two projects . But now you can considered as GONE from the INEXPERIENCE Penang CM .

    Coming back to BN ,
    I see BN to retake many seats and possibily some state governments back . Perak is one such State . The PR majority is only 3 seats 31 versus 28 . All you need is just 2 seats to crass over or win 2 extra seats in the next GE and Perak goes back to BN .

    The reason why I say BN will retake back many seats is in my initial statement . MCA , Gerakan lost heavily in Penang is caused by the fact that WE BOOTED OUT OUR OWN CANDIDATES fot the reason these candidates were not of our choice .

    They were stooges of Ong Ka Ting for that matter . Candidates who won big is more than 15000 votes were replaced with controversial candidates hand picked by OKT for reasons that these people will support him in the MCA party elections in OCT this year . Similarly in Perak candidates were dropped and replaced at the eleventh hr with Ong Ka Chuan's men . This resulted in only winning one state seat out of sixteen contested .

    With the clean up of the BN component parties starting with MCA , in OCT we should see a new party president voted in by the grassroots , I would forsee the MCA to improve on its performance . Basically the MCA's infrastructure and members are still intact . The Branches and the Divisions are still intact as there have been no mass resignations . They will respond to battle stations come next GE . Not the last one where everyone stay at home and even provided the PR with ammunitions .

  9. Hi chaptokam,

    You said it all, better than me.

    But there are some differences, you are BN supporter and I am the rakyat. In this case my voices carry more weight..Hehehe....

    Cheers and have a nice day.

    anon 10:18AM

  10. Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi chaptokam,

    You said it all, better than me.

    THANKS ;
    its people like you giving us the courage to see a better Malaysia for all .