MCA: How Long Can the Party Go?

I am sure, many millions of Malaysians, especially Chinese, will have shared my acute discomfort and  embarrassment after hearing the news that the MCA central delegates has approved a resolution for the party to accept government posts at all levels. According to reports, a total of 1,973 out of the 1,982 or 99.5% present at the extraordinary general meeting at Wisma MCA on Sunday voted for the resolution by a show of hands. This means that only 9 of those present voted either to abstain or against the resolution. 

It is important to note that the party had passed a resolution in 2011 and 2012 not to accept any government post if the party’s performance in the 13th general election was worse than that of the 12th general election. According to the election results, the MCA won a total of 18 seats in the 13th general election against 46 in the 12th general election.

Presumably the great majority of those voting for this resolution were the same people who had passed the earlier resolution.  Have these people, especially the President and his deputies no sense of shame, honour or dignity at all?  After making the solemn promise not to accept any government post, they are not only doing a complete flip-flop but apparently will be asking for at least three ministerial positions and several deputy minister-ships as well as various other federal and state high positions.

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Why the Change in Party Position

Now what has happened during these past few months which makes this extraordinary volte-face justifiable? If we examine the events of the past few months, we can see that racial and religious conflict and tension is reaching a peak with the Prime Minister and UMNO leaders doing little about it. Not only has the MCA remained largely mum and when the party comes out with a press statement, it tries to put the blame on the opposition instead  of pointing the fingers at the extremist groups which have UMNO supporters at their core.

So weak, unresponsive and dishonest has been the top leadership that even Waytha Moorthy of Hindraf who joined the Cabinet recently has given up and resigned. I suppose his resignation means that there is one more minor position that the MCA can begin grovelling for!

A party resolution should not be like a decision arrived at in a kopitiam or during a teh tarik session. It is the highest level of decision making. Any resolution put forward and adopted should be binding as it carries with it short and long term ramifications and significance. But apparently, resolutions in the MCA’s coffee shop are different as they can be made and unmade with no consequence or sense of culpability.

The only MCA members who have acquitted themselves with any credit in this political come down and humiliation are the nine dissenting members led by Yap Ah Seng. This group has been taking turns in staging a protest against the EGM during the past week. To them, I say “well done” for upholding the honour of the party and for remembering the Chinese proverb

One dog snarls at a shadow; a hundred howl at each others barking.

(Chinese original: 一犬吠影,白犬吠声; Chinese Pinyin:  Yī quǎn fèi yǐng, bǎi quǎn fèi shēng.)

In refusing to follow the crowd and jump on the bandwagon of self seeking interests, they have shown that there is still an idealistic minority in a party dominated by unethical and opportunistic elements.

Likely UMNO/BN Response to the MCA Resolution

Frankly, if I were an UMNO or other Barisan party leader or even member, I will tell the MCA to take a long walk. How dare they come up with this new resolution so quickly after being rejected by the majority in the electorate (including non-Chinese) and doing so poorly in the elections? And what cheek for them to make these demands for high positions which will mean a smaller share of the plum jobs and a smaller share of the pie especially for other BN parties such as the MIC and the Sabah and Sarawak based parties!

I am sure that Najib, the Prime Minister, will see through this greed and grab for positions, perks and privileges by the MCA couched in the language of ensuring that the Chinese have an important role to play in national development; and that their absence from the federal and state governments has been sorely missed. Najib is no fool and he knows that they are coming to him with their tails between the legs.

No, Najib will not tell the MCA to get lost. Instead he will throw out a few bones in the way of inconsequential positions and say how happy he is that the MCA has decided to take part in the democratic power sharing system of the BN. He does so secure in the knowledge that the MCA – although a spent and rejected political force – is still useful for propaganda purposes that the BN is a genuinely multi-racial coalition.

The bottom line to the MCA latest resolution is that nothing has changed in MCA and BN politics.  All the talk about sacrifice, change and reform is just cheap talk; it is typically cynical, self-serving and acquisitive politics; or BN business as usual politics.

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