On the MCA EGM

By Tengku Razaleigh

MCA is now without leadership. Both the President and Deputy President of MCA have been rejected by delegates at their EGM.

This has a bearing on the government of the day. Those members  of the cabinet from MCA are there by virtue of being appointed by the PM from a list submitted by the President of MCA.

With Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat’s removal by his own party via the EGM, he and his chosen team in cabinet may no longer be taken to represent MCA, let alone the Chinese community. This is implied by the logic of the BN’s system of communal representation.

Now that Ong’s leadership has been rejected, he and his fellow MCA members of cabinet should do the honourable thing and offer the Prime Minister their collective resignation.

The collapse of MCA’s leadership reflects MCA’s loss of support in the Chinese community. The Party as a whole should re-consider its position in the government if it is no longer relevant to its ethnic constituency. MCA’s troubles are part of a larger collapse. Our system of communal representation has broken down.

A further question is what becomes of BN and Umno without a viable MCA. Without Chinese support, Umno would be like PAS in the days when it seemed like a local party of Kelantan: an exclusively Malay party strong in some localities but irrelevant nationally.

There is a view that Umno, and by extension, the Malays, can somehow go it alone. Some calculate that Umno can cling to power by winning back the Malay masses through playing on divisive racial and religious issues.  This is a mis-reading of the country at large and it underestimates the good sense and moderation of the majority of the Malays.

Meanwhile there are signs that PAS, with the assistance of its partners, is taking up the middle ground vacated by Umno. In cooperation with its partners, PAS is now a force to reckon with in the plural centre of the country. It is from the middle, not the extremities, that Malaysia was and is won. MCA and MIC are now marginal to the country and Umno appears to be following suit.