WikiLeak: Ong Tee Keat admits Chinese marginalised


There was once a day in Malaysia when MCA would get the left-overs, but now we are just hoping to get some crumbs from the Umno table
Ong Tee Keat, then MCA vice-president
quoted in a US diplomatic cable in 2006

Ong Tee Keat was one of the few high-level Chinese politicians who agreed that Malaysian Chinese are marginalised by Umno, according to a secret US diplomatic cable in 2006 published today at Malaysia Today through WikiLeaks.

The US Embassy’s political officer, Mark Clark, noted that Ong, then MCA vice-president, was one of the few ministerial level Chinese politicians who refused to deny publicly or privately the fact that Chinese Malaysians are marginalised.

Ong commented to Clark in a private meeting that although Chinese leaders from MCA and Gerakan were bound to support government (i.e. Umno) positions, their Chinese constituents were not satisfied with their responses.

In cases such as this, “silence is sometimes our only valid response.” But he acknowledged, “of course we are marginalised, big business to small stall owners know that — but MCA cannot admit it.”

So when pressed by reporters for a public response to Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew’s accusation that year that Malaysia marginalises the Chinese community, Ong related an old Chinese proverb — “Whether the water in the tea cup is hot or cold, he who drinks it knows best,” the cable said.

Ong Tee Keat foresaw the difficulties facing the MCA in the general election (held two years later, in 2008). There was great dissatisfaction with the status quo in the Chinese community, only partially shown in the Sarawak elections of 2006 when the DAP won six seats.