Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Star forum -New Politics in Post Election 2008

I was invited as the panel speaker for The Star forum titled "New Politics in Post Election 2008" sometime in March. Below are the excerpts of what I've said during the forum.

Nobody predicted that the anti-government wave would turn into a political tsunami that saw the BN losing its 2/3 majority in Parliament, 4 states (Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor), falling into the hands of opposition, make up of DAP, PAS and PKR. Kelantan remains in the hand of PAS.

For the BN and opposition party, political landscape is completely altered. It cannot be business as usual for both BN and opposition party. Of course, the shock and blame game will definitely start. What is clear is that if BN leadership is in denial syndrome, it will further erode the support for BN.

Since voting this time cut across racial line with Chinese voting for PAS, Malay voting for DAP and Indian deserting MIC, a few pertinent questions will be asked:

1) Will ethnic based political party (UMNO, MCA and MIC) become irrelevant?
2) If there is a strong show by opposition, will it be the start of 2 party system in Malaysia? BN versus coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS?
3) How opposition control state will perform in the next 5 years?

These are some of the very basic question that crosses my mind. I think ethnic based political party will still be part of the political landscape for years to come. We must not forget the dissatisfaction by the people towards the government also cut across racial line:
1) Inflation
2) Crime
3) Corruption
4) Poor government delivery system
5) Policies perceive only to favour a selected few
6) Government’s inability to handle sensitive issue

These issues affect Malaysia irrespective of race and people were united in sending these messages to the government to raise their dissatisfaction. Hence, we should not be too quick to jump into conclusion that politics from now on is race blind.

For MCA, as the 2nd largest component party in BN, there is a need for critical evaluation and examination in order to move forward. MCA still has a very good organization and structure throughout the country and we should tap into these resources in order to re-strategize and to re-brand as to project ourselves that we can really feel the pulse of the Chinese in a multiracial country like ours. To remain relevant, we cannot be singing the same old tune or supporting MCA and BN to ensure peace, stability and development. We cannot just be talking about Chinese schools development, new village development, UTAR and KTAR and that our Wakil Rakyat are good at providing basic services, looking after roads and drains. I’m not saying that these issues are not important. The Chinese want more in the 21st century. The time has come that we must know how to articulate Chinese frustrations from education opportunities, economy opportunities and government perceived indifferences in solving Chinese problems.

We need to be more vocal and convince the people that we can, that we know, that we are fighting for Chinese rights in the context of a multiracial country. We have to ensure fairness by government, especially in the implementation and delivery system, not just on scholarship, but participation in the expanding economy cake. The traditional closed door method of resolving matter is still relevant in very sensitive issues, but we must keep Chinese connected.

Apart from that, we must do more in the dissemination of information. Malaysia has moved towards the trend of Internet campaigning. We cannot depend too much on traditional mainstream media. The new media, from internet to blog, has not only been neglected by MCA but also by BN component party. Blog has been underutilized by MCA and component party. The opposition has fully utilized blogging and internet. During the 13-day campaign, Lim Kit Siang’s blog has high number of viewing and the user traffic flow is heavy. Voters, especially young voters are more prone to using internet rather than newspapers because it is more convenient and also serves as an alternative channel of which they think are giving them the truth.

Besides that, the attitude of MCA leadership of “we know what is best for Chinese” has caused publicity woes. We need more interaction, not only with members but with community at large. We hold a lot of functions, but often confined to own members. We do not know how to publicize ourselves. This is the time to open up. Opposition parties are good at publicizing our failure; the end result is that people connect failure with MCA rather than positive aspects. Reliance on traditional mainstream media and the political spinning done has been counter productive. The usual method of distributing goodies to Chinese schools on rebuild, relocation and expand has not gone down well with the Chinese community. The opposition has gone to town to say that the government has thought of Chinese education when they need Chinese votes. Chinese education issue should be resolved long before election date. Being a solely Chinese based party, we have to address Chinese problem in the context of multiracial society. We must impress among the Chinese that they are doing well, that they are not marginalized, that they are still part of mainstream economy development, our annual household income, poverty and unpoverty rate far lower among other races. We have also our problem that needs MCA and the government to resolve.

At this time, MCA members need to remain calm and united and have confidence in the leadership who are elected by the delegates. Of course I understand that there are possibilities of members defecting to the opposition parties. There will also be difficulties in recruiting new members, especially in opposition controlled state. MCA members need to work out as a team to face these challenges.

MCA being as a component party of BN can only do so much. UMNO dominated BN need to reinvent itself that may cut across racial line that will make MCA rebuild, work or exercise more effectively. UMNO cannot assume it is business as usual. Together we need to change.

Moving on to the opposition controlled states, it cannot be denied that they are facing major challenges on delivery of major promises.

1) Whether they can co-operate to administer the state, or continue bickering about who is the big brother.
2) Other than PAS, the rest of the opposition parties have no experience in administering state government. Of course you can learn but if you’re slow, you’ll be shown the door by the voters in the same way that they have done to BN.
3) Federal and State relationship will assume a new dimension, one of confrontation, or co-operation where it is politically convenient or working towards a win win situation for both.
4) Getting cooperation from the public service, dominated by one ethnic group.
5) If opposition party does well in the state, it will bring tremendous challenge to BN and may prolong their longevity and political life span. BN will then be in trouble.

Therefore, we do not underestimate opposition’s power. BN must continue to stay connected with the voters and start fulfilling its promises (economy, education, social welfare) in order to continue to stay in power.


Anonymous said...

The legend of "RAHMAN" states clearly that the run of UMNO on the Prime MInister position will end at six when Dato Najib takes over from Pak Lah. The BN formula is no longer working, how can MCA with 15 MP's and get 9 minister and deputy-minister portfolio, when Sabah and Sarawak based party get only a token of cabinet post. MIC and Gerakan are becoming 'sweet potato' party, it will be very tough for them to regroup and reborn. MCA on the other hand is different, it holds the "King Maker" card, it will be a very valuable component for which ever coalition that forms the next government. MCA should examine its option with flexibility, especially when the Malay's votes are clearly divided into three camps and will continue to do so in the near future. Pak Lah has his chance and he failed and people start to complain he is even worse than Tun Mahathir. On the other hand, Dato Najib is even weaker in turn of his ability to govern the country and trying to out-smart his opponents. He is just waiting to be the PM instead of preparing to be the PM. Race based politics is a dead end and if Dr. Chua cannot envision this, i think MCA is in bigger trouble, so it is better for the young leaders to take over as soon as possible. Just follow the flow of events and be truly be the servant of rakyat, then, MCA will be relevant. One day, it may even regain the finance minister portfolio and even has a chance of fielding the second deputy prime minister position.

Cyberpower said...

Dear Dr Chua
Yes, you have woken up. The scandal that led to your resignation maybe a blessing in disguise for you. Otherwise, we may not hear this now as you were also party to the old MCA.

You have critically analysed the problems. You now have the golden opportunity to channel all your energy to change and revolutionise the party. I believe if you lead the change, you would garner the support. Be the Obama of Malaysia, The MCA members want to hear that you have the new hope for them. What is your new manifesto, vision and mission to the party and the Chinese in M'sia.

Show them the path and lead with the light, and the people will follow. If you can show this, you shud win.

I wish you all the best.

KIMHO8 said...

馬華應該立刻行動,爭取應有平等的權利。過程一定是難如登天; 就說是乘火打劫也好,借刀殺人也好; 就是要乘他病,拿他命; 不要等到船過了河,沒艇搭。不妨一試,不該害怕。施壓不管用就來個威脅,告訴他們此處不留人,自有留人處!也可順便看清自己在他們心中的地位,再估計一下自己存在的價值。留得青山在,不怕沒材燒! 如馬華真的能大大聲和巫氏老板談判,一定會有很多心存正義的非黨員華族也會開始走出來,捍衛馬華,一起共同進退!




Take ground for truth,
and justice, and rectitude,
and piety, and fight well,
and there can be no question
as to the result.

Henry Ward Beecher

CK Loh said...

Whilst I agree on most analysis that Dr. Chua have made, but I agree on what glokal said. Race based politics is a dead end and if Dr. Chua cannot envision this, i think MCA is in bigger trouble, so it is better for the young leaders to take over as soon as possible.

Let me share with you my thought, most country politics are generally can be divided into three category
1) Pre Independence
2) Post Independence
3) Two multi-race party system

Britain, US, Australia and most developed nations are in stage 3 now, practicing two party system. This system is very beneficial to the rakyat, as we have 2 equally strong party to compete, if one cannot perform, be assured that on the next election, the next party will take over. And it is important both parties are not 'race base' so that the rakyat will only vote base on their past 5 years performance and nothing else.

Alot of healty organisation is practiced this as well, for example, Bank A and Bank B. Both provides basic facilities in banking like fixed deposits, savings an loans. If Bank A start to venture into new business like credit cards, eventually Bank B, has only 2 choice, either to follow or to be obselete. In a two party system, competition among the two party is important as highlighted by Tony Pua on the New Politics forum. Now the other party, Pakatan Rakyat managed to offer a multi race party to the rakyat, if the Chinese and Indian are good enough, he can go very far in term of Government cabinets, maybe as Deputy Rrime Minister or maybe even higher, if can gain enough support. What BN can provides in a race base politics, even you have one political genius in Malaysia that is non-Malay, the most he can goes to is maybe Home Minister.

On my opinion, is BN does not change, it will be obselete one day, and this is not what I hope for. Rakyat want 2 party system that are both are multi racial and not race base. If BN still don't get this message, rakyat will ensure next election, BN will fully get the message. On my opinion, alot of Malaysian are thinking in my line, having 2 party system that are both not ethnic base. At least, there is a lot of bloggers thinking in this line. And we will ensure in this 5 years, we will continue campaign against BN, if there is no change in BN on the ethnic base stance.

US for example is in stage 1, pre independence until 1776. Then they are in stage 2, from 1776 to 1854. And they are in stage 3, from 1854 until now practicing 2 party system. And in between, both Republicans and Democrats have take turn to govern US, base on performance, not race base politic. US also is a multi racial country, that is why I use US as an example, and now Obama, father is a Kenyan, has a chance to be their president.

Malaysia is still in in stage 2. One day Malaysia will be in stage 3, practising 2 party system where both party are not race/etnic base. The day will come. We, rakyat hope that the day will come sooner rather than later. We don't want to wait for another 50 years for that to happen. Why later? And we must reject those leader in BN that still thinking race base, dividing Malaysia into a few layers.

Rakyat are fed up with that, what we really want is party during their election speech touch on global/national issues like the US and most country practised. What UMNO and MCA taling now in their election speech, is just protecting their race and interest, and doesn't discuss much on national issues although all the media is with them. Why?

To be fair, Dr. Chua has highligthed this, but still if it is still race base politics, the efficiency will not be there when you talk about national issues.

What Dr. Chua highlighted dissatisfaction from the rakyat are
1) Inflation
2) Crime
3) Corruption
4) Poor government delivery system
5) Policies perceive only to favour a selected few
6) Government’s inability to handle sensitive issue

This is not really racial issues, it cut accross the racial line.

Well the question we should ask is, are we managed our country with the best resources available? None of the 66 GLCs CEO run by Non-Malay, we are still a very race base nation. If Malaysian Chinese and Indians can manage bigger compnay in Singapore, I don't see why they can't do it in Malaysia. There are alot of genius leaving Malaysia for greener pastures, because of the race base policy.

When we are talking of our economic issues, the government said that it is a global issues, first thing first, are we used our best resources to manage it?

On all the problems highlighted by Dr. Chua above, are we managed it with the best resources?

BN is a race base party, on the 27 cabinets ministers, 4 to 6 goes to Chinese and the rest goes to bumiputras. Are we saying for sure in 27 Malaysians, only 4 to 6 Chinese is good enough. If not why, this structure is practiced since 50 years ago.

If they are 5 Chinese and 5 Indians that is very very capable to run the cabinets, run the nations, they will be denied the place, because BN is a 'etnic base' party. If they are alot of Malays capable and none of the non-Malays are capable, than be it put all the capable person to run the country. As a Chinese, I don't mind whether Chinese is represented in cabinets, I just want the best Malaysians run the cabinets and most GLCs.

Does we want this type of politic? We must wake up, we need a 2 party system that both party is multi-racial, which means if the non-Muslim is good enough they will go high enough in the party politic ladder. Many will argue that this is not possible in Malaysia, whilst my comment is, if we have those MCA leaders with us, this is not possible.

Wake up, Pakatan Rakyat is practising this. See the Penang, Perak and Selangor cabinets. This is already happening in Malaysia. It is only BN still insisting of racial politics. Nizar, Perak MB, just anounced 1/3 of the local councils can be from BN. This is the type of politics that rakyat want. Not 'dividing cake' type of politic from BN, where the cake portion is already decided. Because BN is an etnic base party, they need to do that. Some of the smaller component party will get their share too regardless of their capability.

Rakyat wants BN merged all their components party into one strong party or at least most of it to give Pakatan Rakyat a very good fight. Gerakan Youth Chief, has voiced it too.

有话直说 said...


1就如吉兰丹王储东姑莫哈末法力斯布特拉(Tengku Mohammad Faris Petra,)认为,既然非马来人已经取得公民权,就不应再争取平等的权利与特权。



Pearls said...

Ok..Ok.. Ok.. all said and done. Now what? Where do MCA go from here? When can we, the people see some changes from within MCA? What willl the necessary changes be? How will MCA make themselves more in-tune, relevant, sensitive to the TODAY's chinese?

As far as I can see, it is business as usual for everyone in BN. Why is that so? The denial stage should be over. The acceptance stage should have set in by now but I dont see that. What's taking BN so long to get over it and move on? What is taking MCA so long to figure it out what needs to be done?

The PM is still hanging around shamelessly inspite of calls from all quarters telling him to bugger off. Even if the PM do eventually wakes up and bugger off, BN is in a sorry state of affair as there is really no capable leader to take over this mighty duty. And..

On the MCA front, I have heard over and over and over and over again about how MCA acknowledge what went wrong, yadda, yadda, yadda... but after realising, in this short 1 month, there are a few issues which MCA should have voice out to show that they are serious in this revamp, re-invent, re-juvenate business. BUT NOOO... nothing! How disappointing! It is again, all talk and no action! Yars, people want to see action, people want to see some form of positive change. Yars... we, the people are demanding.. Thats right! That is because we are affected by what is happening everyday for the love of Mary! We dont have the time or luxuries for you people in MCA to get all primped up and pretty before you people decides to get down to even think!

So, again, when can we see some revamp in MCA? When can we see a new, more dynamic MCA? It better happen fast while MCA still have some tiny bit of relevance in the society. Don't wait till it reaches the same stage like
MIC/Gerakan... than, it will take more than divine intervention to rescue MCA.

By the way, please feel free to hop around in this cyber world and read blogs written by BN ministers. Some of them need to be told not to ruffle the racial feathers! Lastly, who in the world was MCA's PR or advertising? tsk! tsk! tsk!.. Ish! very bad... very bad indeed. Sigh.

LohSH said...

pearls writes: "..who in the world was MCA's PR or advertising? tsk! tsk! tsk!.. Ish! very bad... very bad indeed. Sigh."

Does it matter who are 'tsk! tsk! tsk!.. Ish!'? No, it does not.

It is their viewpoints that count.

In this flat world,one is free to express one's points and counterpoints.

Does it matter who is pearls? No, it does not, either.

Gua said...

I'm agreed with KimHo8, 不要再去批評敵黨,只會讓人民感到更加厭倦,口動心動不如行動

New committee for new village development that report to Federal Government?!! OH good, please stop all these childish reaction. YOu all really like a child that want to take part in a play but whose was not happy when lost and acting dump on it. This new committee is only wasting the ppl money, this is the money that ppl paid for the development of our belove country.

MCA is only making more disgusting act and seperating themselves from the community. We don't want this kind of childish party to be in part of our government!!!

Thim Fook, Law said...

I think it's hightime MCA disbands, as it has not served the interest of the Chinese well (except for the individual politicians' pockets) - in the recent past and present. MCA has been seen, and probably will continue to be seen as the cowardly servant dog of master UMNO - and will quietly shut up when asked by the master to do so. MCA is no longer of any value/meaning to the Chinese at large, especially the English-educated Chinese, as most Malaysians are able to see beyond racial lines, which MCA is not only not able to, but continues to stoke the racial fire. So burn down the MCA house!

PL said...

New committee for new village development that report to Federal Government?!! Come on! Don't mess with the taxpayers' money just like the'wang ehsan" in Trengganu back in 1999. You have shown to be such sore losers. The more Fed-Gov try to isolate PR with rakyat resources, the more determined the rakyat is going to kick you in PRU-13.

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