MCA in a dilemma over party and PM


(The Star) – “If you can change the government, I congratulate you. But if you can’t, have you ever thought of the consequences?” he asked.

MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (pic) has denied that the party has abandoned former president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, saying it was torn between qing (familial ties) and li (proper decorum).

“It is the greatest strength and also weakness of the Chinese people,” said Ong in his speech during MCA annual general meeting on Sunday.

Ong said on Oct 3, Dr Ling had openly called for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to step down, which shocked the party.

“Tun Ling has contributed to the Chinese community for decades. Do you think we have no qing with him?” he said.

MCA, said Ong, owed Najib li as prime ministers had traditionally opened all of MCA annual general meetings since the days of Tun Tan Siew Sin and was a political partner since independence.

Najib was also present to open this year’s meeting before rushing to Jakarta for a discussion with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in the afternoon.

Ong pointed out that Najib was a democratically elected Prime Minister and deserved respect and support.

As for Dr Ling, Ong said he deserved the party’s respect as a veteran leader.

“That is why we did not criticise him. We merely said his statement was not the party’s stance,” he said.

The party, said Ong, had to bear the political consequences of this particular decision but chose to meet both obligations of li and qing.

Admitting that the party was receiving a lot of flak, especially from the Chinese community, he urged members to remain steadfast and not be influenced by talks of wanting a government change.

“If you can change the government, I congratulate you. But if you can’t, have you ever thought of the consequences?” he asked.

MCA, said Ong, had to shoulder the burden of leading the Chinese community and urged members to be patient in the face of criticism and to remain united for the sake of the party.

Other leaders, including party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon had reiterated that Dr Ling’s statement did not represent the party stance.

Najib’s lawyers had sent a letter of demand to Dr Ling over a statement relating to 1Malaysia Development Bhd, asking for a retraction and apology within seven days.

However, Dr Ling said he stood by his statement, adding that he accepted Najib’s “challenge” and would defend himself in court.