Light At the End of MCA Tunnel
Malaysian Chinese Association(MCA ) was one of only TWO founder members of the Alliance Party, besides the United Malays National Organisation(UMNO), before they were joined at a later stage by the Malaysian Indian Congress(MIC). After the 13th May crisis of 1969, the Aliance Party was enlarged to receive new members including PAS, Gerakan, and several other Sarawak-based and Sabah-based parties, to form a larger coalition, renamed Barisan Nasional(BN).
Besides being one of the founding partners in the Alliance Party, MCA is the SECOND largest party in the BN coalition. MCA was formed in early 1950s, at a time when a huge section of the Chinese community were sympathetic to the Malaysian Communist Party(MCP) under the leadership of Chin Peng, a branch of the Communist Party of People’s Republic of China. In contrast to the MCP who insurrected armed struggle against the formation of ‘transition government’ of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, which were jointly engineered by UMNO, Raja Melayu and the British, MCA chose to work alongside UMNO, Raja Melayu and the British, to chart the road-map to full independence of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.
Factional split within MCA was NOTHING NEW. Even Gerakan was born out of a split within MCA, in mid-1960s. And there were further splits in the party in later years. However, the relevance of MCA to the Chinese community, and the wisdom of the party’s delegates, proved times and again, that MCA has the INNER STRENGTH and RESILIENCE to recover from their internal bickerings. There were RELATIVE stability in the party during 15 over years Presidency of TS Ling Liong Sik, before he resigned in 2003, and taken over by Ong Ka Ting. During OKT 5 years tenure as President, MCA must have enjoyed one of the most peaceful periods in their history. Despite that, the ‘political tsunami’ of March 2008 did not spare MCA, except in certain major strongholds, prompting OKT to tender his resignation as the party President, in the aftermath of it.
Almost immediately after the major setback, MCA’s partner, UMNO, the backbone of the BN, started to ‘reorganise its columns’, and by March 2009, a year after the ‘tsunami’, Tun Abdullah Badawi handed over the baton to DS Najib Razak, who almost immediately introduced multiplicity of measures to REGAIN the support of the rakyat, including introducing the 1Malaysia ‘rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan’. After only six months of Najib’s takeover, his APPROVAL RATING among the rakyat had tremendously soared, to over 70% among the Malays and Indians, and almost 50% among the Chinese. BN even managed to get early bonuses by the fall of Perak back to the BN fold, and estounding victory of UMNO/BN candidate Isa Samad in the Bagan Pinang bye-election.
While UMNO is back in full battle-gear, in FULL STATE OF ALERTNESS, to re-capture BN lost territories in the 2008 General Election, MCA has been deeply embroiled in INTERNAL SQUABBLES. ‘Kopitiam talks’ seem to point to the PERSONALITY CLASH between President Ong Tee Keat and Deputy President Chua Soi Lek as the SOURCE of the problem this time round. It appeared that CSL’s ‘sexual misendevours’ was used by OTK to sack CSL from his Deputy President Post. Almost co-incidently, OTK were put in equally DIFFICULT POSITION, after being accused of receiving RM10m ‘political fund’ which were NEVER recorded in MCA official account book.
At a time when both OTK and CSL are both perceived as PROBLEMATIC and may not be able to lead MCA to full recovery to serve the rakyat, let alone regaining the support of the Chinese community, and while the most ‘eligible’ Vice president, Yeow Tiong Lai, still regarded by many as too young for the Presidency, the idea of BRINGING BACK Ong Ka Ting as ‘the saviour’ of the party seems to be TIMELY and may provide the long-awaited light at the end of MCA tunnel.