Looking beyond the EGM


The total membership strength of MCA in the state is in the region of 45,000 from 25 divisions and 352 branches. Sabah has only 149 central delegates out of the total of 2,377 with voting rights at the general assembly.

Leong Sai Ho, Malaysian Mirror

As the eagerly awaited EGM draws near, it is only natural that everyone in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has their mind focused on who is on whose side and what’s going to be the final outcome of this historic meeting.

However, in Sabah as it might be the case elsewhere in the nation, there are some who truly wish it were over already and have their minds on matters beyond the EGM.

Their wish is that the contending leaders, now in a fierce fight to the finish, would, after the EGM is finally over, work as an effective team for the good of the party, the community and the nation.

Learn from past mistakes

“What’s my hope for the EGM, my personal view? I do not care what’s the outcome. It does not matter. What matters is that both parties should accept the decision of the EGM and work together.

“And they must learn from their past mistakes,” declares Chau Tet On, a former chairman of the Sabah state liaison committee and who is still head of the Kota Kinabalu division of the party that has 12 voting delegates besides his own.

Another delegate from Sabah had earlier echoed similar sentiments. “I wish everything is over and we get on with what is more important for all Malaysians,” Lucas Chong Kam Fei, 39, from the Youth Wing of Penampang branch, has said.

The total membership strength of MCA in the state is in the region of 45,000 from 25 divisions and 352 branches. Sabah has only 149 central delegates out of the total of 2,377 with voting rights at the general assembly.

As far as the crucial question of who is taking which side, it is not a very clear cut matter, in Sabah, as not many divisional heads hold a tight reign on the voting delegates.

Tmca-sabah-2.pnghe EGM has been called to settle a leadership tussle between party president Ong Tee Keat and his suspended deputy Chua Soi Lek.

Five resolutions are due to be tabled at the EGM.

They are: a motion of no confidence against Ong; to annul the decision by the presidential council to expel Chua; to reinstate Chua as MCA deputy president; to revoke any appointments including the deputy president made before the EGM; and that no disciplinary action be taken against the EGM “requisitionists”.

Ong, being president and having the upper hand, is expected to win over enough central delegates to repel the no-confidence vote, turning it into a mandate for him to move ahead with his plans to revitalize the party.

Chua, a former health minister on the other hand, fell from grace after a DVD showed him having sex with a woman friend was distributed nationwide and overseas. 

The scandal forced him to resign both his Cabinet and party posts but in the October 2008 MCA election, he made a grand comeback and won the deputy president’s post.

Sadly, he and Ong had not been able to work together, leading to the current crisis in the party and to the EGM this Saturday.

The situation has saddened many within the party. It made many reflect and look back on the past and the proud record of the MCA in the political life of the nation.

Chong, the young delegate from Penampang, Sabah, had taken note for instance, that the MCA “has been a central pillar of the political structure of our society” since Malaya achieved independence in 1957.

He adds that the party “has played an important role in politics and in the central government” since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

It seems that not only the young ones within the party wish this phase of the party’s history were over, but the seniors as well.

Among those who have openly supported the holding of the EGM to resolve the matter, is Chau, who told the Malaysian Mirror in Kota Kinabalu,

“I have openly supported the EGM because of the confusion created by the two that would jeopardise the party”

After MCA’s serious setback in dropping from a total of 101 MPs and state assemblymen to 47, he said that what the party leadership should do was to work together and plan programmes to win back voters, especially Chinese in the country.

Bad impression

“For example, as a divisional chairman, I have to conduct all sorts of activities, to be friendly to the people. Now, I don’t know what to do, due to lack of national direction on such programmes,” he said.

“I have, being one of the veterans, told both of them that all that has happened have given the general public a bad impression of the party and they despise our leaders.

“Don’t forget that the next general election is not that far off, the latest by March 2013,” he added.

His hope is that both parties would accept the decision of the EGM and work together. “They must learn from past mistakes,” Chau stressed. 

Lucas Chong too, is concerned about the future. “As a youth, I am naturally very concerned about the future, my future, the future of the younger generation in Malaysia.”

The outcome of the EGM shall, therefore, have great effects on how the party, that has been in the mainstay of political life in the nation for so long since pre-Merdeka and pre-Malaysia days, would start afresh and move ahead to fulfill its task, minus the intense infighting.

Part 1 Sabah MCA: Enough is enough!