MCA set to rejoin Cabinet but still no love from the Chinese

New MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (right) and vice-president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong are likely to rejoin the Cabinet. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, December 24, 2013.

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider

A new leadership elected over the weekend could see MCA finally reviewing its decision against joining the Barisan Nasional (BN) Cabinet but analysts say ministerial appointments will still not attract Chinese support.

At the very least, MCA is to get one ministerial and one deputy ministerial post but this hinges on the Chinese party calling an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to overturn its earlier decision not to accept government posts.

“With hindsight, opting out of Cabinet was a wrong decision. We are denying voters better, efficient service which no one benefitted when we decided to stay out,” former MCA vice-president Datuk Chor Chee Heung told The Malaysian Insider.

The party had four ministerial and seven deputy minister posts previously but it opted to stay out of Cabinet as it won only seven federal and 11 state seats in GE13, down from the 15 federal and 32 state seats gained in election 2008.

Delegates at its annual general assembly on Sunday made their feelings on the subject clear, saying that it does not augur well for the party not having a say in government policies and decisions.

This was on top of the wishes of 58 Chinese non-governmental organisations urging the party to return to the Cabinet to voice out the community’s needs and aspirations more effectively, including suggesting good and fair government policies

In a scathing assessment, Centre for Policy Initiative director Dr Lim Teck Ghee said the move was aimed at helping themselves and their cronies rather than for the benefit of the community.

“They must be in total self-denial if they believe that they can do more in the Cabinet now with their reduced numbers, weak leaders and reduced political clout than they have done in the past when they were a stronger political force.

“The Chinese community is fully aware that all this talk about more effective Chinese representation if they are in the Cabinet is just hot air and empty promises, driven by self-interest and opportunism,” he said.

Although newly elected MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai did not give a firm answer on the matter, MCA looks set to hold an EGM earliest by next month to pave the way for its return to the Government.

And if delegates give their green light, then the party is expected to be given the Transport Ministry portfolio, which is temporarily headed by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.