A big thank you to Han Jiang Student Association for inviting me to be the panel speaker in the forum titled "Analysing General Election, Discussing the future". There were about 1000 turnouts in the forum and I now share with you some of the things that I've said during the forum.
During the forum, I stressed that after the defeat of BN, there is a need to do self examination of why voters rejected BN. We should have the courage to admit our mistakes and weaknesses and for leadership to apologize to their members for this defeat.
Since this time's voting cut across racial line, a lot of people would think that ethnic based political party like UMNO and MCA will soon become irrelevant. We seem to now have a 2 party system in the country, BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR). PR-controlled state government will be watched by rakyat and BN to see how they perform in the coming years.
Ethnic-based political party will continue to have some relevance, but of course they need to change and reform. Voting this time has become non-racial because there are a lot of problems affecting every Malaysian and this include the inflation, corruption, abuse of power and religious issue. All these resulted in people wanting to teach BN government a lesson in the election. So, we should not be too fast to jump into conclusion that ethnic based political party will turn into political dinasour.
In a multiracial country like Malaysia, ethnic based political party still has a role to play. As long as Malay enjoys special rights, Islam is the official religion, head of state with the exception of Penang must be Malay/Muslim as stated in the constitution, there is still a role to be played by ethnic based political party even though our role will soon become more limited, unless rakyat start to view issues in a multiracial dimension. As long as there are Chinese who wants Chinese education, Chinese culture and Chinese temple, then there is a role for a Chinese-based political party.
Of course cooperation between BN component parties can never be the same as before. The concept of power sharing as practiced by PR in the state government is an eye opener to UMNO and MCA, moreover when the state government is dominated by Chinese although the Menteri Besar comes from Malay.
MCA needs to re-look at its relationship with UMNO. It has to be an equal status and equal right cooperation. The big brother mentality of UMNO has to go. UMNO leaders must begin to be humble, not to think that by default; they are the governing party. We must not forget that the rakyat has a choice today. If UMNO leader claim that he is leader of all races and not only Malay, then they should not just talk about Malay development agenda but national development agenda for all races. The idea that MCA must curry favour UMNO to get things done should be thrown out of window. Rakyat wants to see a BN government that is fair, democratic, transparent, non-racial and practices real power sharing and not a master in all relationships with other component parties. Then only can MCA be an efficient party in championing the rights of Chinese.
MCA must of course change and should be more multiracial in our outlook; instead of remaining as a Chinese-centric political party. We cannot be singing the same old tune of peace, stability and development since there is now the strong presence of opposition. With the opposition winning in the recently concluded election, this slogan will not sell anymore to the Chinese community. Voting for MCA will ensure Chinese representation in the cabinet and EXCO will also not sell anymore since they can now be representatives through PR.
MCA and wakil rakyats have this fixation that their job is to look after drains and garbage. Today people regard this as inefficiency of the local authority. Hence, our wakil rakyat need to do what the local authority should be doing but unable to do it well. Developing Chinese schools, relocation and funding has always been part of MCA's work. But today we need to do more. We should do things on a long term basis and we should have made announcements long before the general election.
MCA leaders need to be more vocal and high profile in championing our thoughts. Closed door meetings are no longer useful. Rakyat can accept a rise in political temperature because of racial issue. We must not be seen to only saying about Chinese right but must be seen to do it right. MCA cannot be seen to only concern about Chinese problems but should adapt to a more multiracial approach to all problems. Only by championing the cause of Chinese and all Malaysians will we then able to connect to rakyat. We must make our stand clear in issues affecting all Malaysians and not just Chinese. Hindraf is not just Indian's problem but also national issue. Then only MCA can project itself as a Chinese based party with a multiracial outlook.
In the PR controlled states, MCA found itself playing the role of opposition. It may not be easy for MCA members who are used to be a party in the government. So, we must learn how to monitor and to point out the short fall of the PR state government. MCA members must stay united and if they are not happy with the leadership, they have to wait until party election. It does not pay to blame anyone. We should continue to work to build up the good will and relationship established with local community. We must not forget if voters can throw us out, they will do the same to PR if they are not performing up to expectation. Jumping ship or hopping to other party will not solve MCA problem. We need your strength and your initiative to rebuild MCA.