In the battle of irrelevance in the Malaysian political sphere, MCA seems to be leading the pack.
It was formed to protect the interest of the Chinese community. Its key member Tun H.S. Lee initiated an electoral alliance which resulted in a partnership among Umno, MCA and MIC which led to Malaya’s independence. But it has now evolved into a party that has lost the support of not only the Chinese community, but Malaysians in general.
The writing had been on the wall for some time. Those within, however, chose to ignore the signs, allowing ill-feelings within the community to fester.
This led to a disastrous outing at the last general election, with even then party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai given the boot from his seat in Bentong.
And May 9, 2018 saw the downfall of a long-standing but ailing Barisan Nasional coalition.
Today, MCA joins forces with another political party which has also been ridiculed by its community – MIC – in wanting out from Barisan Nasional.
The sudden bravery is indeed comical. MCA had every opportunity to correct the wrongs in the past but chose to be subservient to its Umno masters. It has always been playing second fiddle, despite appearing vociferous at times in a feeble attempt at relevance.
And despite flexing its tiny muscles – including through its mouthpieces with fairytale-like analysis – the party failed big time.
Gone are the days of educated leaders of calibre who were able to assimilate with other communities, including the British, and yet stood firm in their principles and beliefs. In the determination to hold on to power, the subsequent generations allowed the party to morph into something which it was not.
Also, the newer set of leaders did not bring any new perspectives to the table. They seemed to be afraid to groom fresh, young talents. They remained insecure.
So what’s next for MCA? Will its “ballsy” stand of wanting to quit BN do any good at this juncture?
MCA lost its bargaining chip a long time ago. And it is partnering MIC, which is equally irrelevant, in its quest to bid BN farewell. Good luck to that!
It is clear those hanging on have the assets as motivation. For the ordinary members, there’s nothing but mere (confusing) words and (sweet) promises.
With the exception of the good work by its long-serving Public Services Department chief Michael Chong, MCA is not noted for anything else in recent years.
Its members are also confused. On one hand, the party champions the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and everything Chinese. And then they call for equality, a colour-blind society and claim to be staunch supporters of “1Malaysia”.
Perhaps MCA should consider quitting politics altogether and focus on being a non-governmental organisation – it would be a good time for reflection – going back to the ground, listening to and addressing problems faced by the ordinary folk.
Perhaps it could turn itself into a business entity and allow its assets to grow. Perhaps.
One thing for sure, the turn of events in recent days show racial politics is on the rise. With toothless organisations representing the minorities and the sheer motivation of ‘race first, being Malaysian second’ benefiting politicians, Malaysians will end up being further fragmented than before.