Where Should MCA Be Headed To?

After the humiliating defeat in the March elections, Barisan Nasional has been urging party leaders to respect the views of the grassroots. At the same time, complaints on UMNO's hegemony and indifference to the feelings of other people are also gaining momentum.

MCA, which used to be responding to racial, religious, educational and other sensitive issues through "internal negotiations to resolve conflicts," has also begun to speak out.

MCA president Ong Ka Ting puts its very frankly that the government has not been doing enough for Chinese education; MCA Youth chief secretary Wee Ka Siong openly rebukes the racist remarks by UMNO's MP for Pasir Salak, Tajuddin; while MCA Youth chairman Liow Tiong Lai says he wants to change UMNO with sincerity...

All of a sudden, everyone seems to be acting against his usual nature, from silence to actively voicing out. Slowly, grassroots leaders who feel they can no longer put up with UMNO's arrogance, are beginning to make the calls of "leaving BN."

Having said that, to leave or not to leave BN is not the issue. The more important thing is where MCA should be headed to in the future.

MCA used to claim that it is representing Chinese Malaysians. However, what the Chinese community hopes to see most, is none other than the fair and just treatment in education, economy and day-to-day life.

When certain Malay leaders make some aggressive statements, the Chinese community hopes that there will be someone bold enough to stand up and censure such remarks on their behalf. When sensitive religious issues are raised, Chinese Malaysians hope that the authorities will be listening to the voices of people from different faiths.

"To leave or not to leave BN is not the issue. The more important thing is where MCA should be headed to in the future."

Can MCA do all these? After the general elections, Ong Ka Ting openly raised the problems of insufficient Chinese primary schools and government allocations during the debate in Dewan Rakyat.

Hearing this, many people said, "MCA really dares to speak out now!"

To the Chinese community, this is a development in the right direction. However, can such a courage be sustained?

This year happens to be the election year for MCA, and candidates vying for higher party posts are banking on the current situation to come up with their own statements in a bid to solicit grssroots support. The most ambitious leaders are those who will say what the grassroots like to hear most, including promises of change.

Having said that, has MCA found its own positioning, and knows which way it is headed to? Does the change they have been talking about include the foregoing of the "compromise" mechanism which they have been holding on to for so long?

Of course, by not openly touching on the sensitive issues will help reduce unnecessary conjectures among the public. Nevertheless, anything that has been suppressed for too long is bound to burst out in full swing one day.

If MCA continues to stay within BN and expresses the voices of the Chinese community, it is most certain that it will come under some pressure, as the idea of a single overpowering party has been deeply rooted in the minds of many. Even if UMNO says it is willing to change, there are still a handful of recalcitrant leaders who are more than ready to "instigate" the other races.

MCA vice president Ong Tee Keat once said, when he was still the MCA Youth chief, he was already "sternly censured" in the BN Youth Meeting for his dissident views. If the same thing happens in BN, MCA leaders must have a great deal of courage and wisdom before they can actually speak out for the Chinese community. (By WEE SOON YING/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2008.09.21