Saturday, August 30, 2008
蔡细历：若当选总会长 马华即刻退出国阵 2008/08/29 19:05:16
他昨晚第二次评论此课题时，挑战副总会长拿督翁诗杰致函给巫统表达退出国阵的意愿，并表明本身若是总会长的立场。 “假如我本身当选总会长，将毫不犹豫地宣布马华退出国阵的重要声明。” 针对翁诗杰日前发表巫统如果不摆脱大马来人主义，马华将考虑退出国阵的言论时，蔡细历表示，本身已经在部落格上发表，即挑战翁诗杰应致函给巫统，表明马华退出国阵的声明。 他狠批翁诗杰，只在华文报章上发表“退出论”，而不敢直接向巫统直接表明马华的心意。
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The people there have sent a strong message to the BN leadership that they have no confidence in the government of the day. Of course it is also Anwar’s homeground. However, whether he will move from PM in waiting to the real PM remains elusive.
Permatang Pauh represented a failure of parties like the MCA and MIC to convince non-Malays of any reason to support BN.
But crucially, the Malays there also rejected Umno's more pro-Malay stance, seemingly in favour of Anwar's multi-racial politics.
As Umno licks its wounds and reviews the situation, it is imperative that MCA take the opportunity to attempt to convince Umno that it has to really reform and the BN has to take on a substantially more multi-racial face to have any chance of winning back voter support.
Umno needs to be convinced that there has to be more of a sense of equal partnership in how BN operates, in order for it win back some non-Malay support.
For now, the Chinese think the MCA does not represent the Chinese and the MIC does not represent the Indians.
And the healthy path towards regaining Malay support is certainly not to become more racial and nationalistic.
The sense of entitlement and arrogance associated with Umno must be shed.
Many people are angry with Umno and BN, and they are uniting under the Pakatan Rakyat umbrella. PR leaders seem to speak the language that people like to hear.
It is well and fine for us in BN to point out the weaknesses of the PR alliance, but at the same time we must also work to reform ourselves.
For now, the MCA is directionless with the president and deputy president retiring soon.
We need to sit down and thrash out ideas and map out reforms to even have a chance of regaining Chinese support.
The people want a more multi-racial approach. That message is loud and clear. So we have to try to give it to them because we are here to serve.
It is our responsibility and obligation in MCA to convince our partner Umno to see the light.
If Umno does not change nothing will happen. That is for sure because it is the biggest party.
But even as the MCA tries to convince Umno, it must continue with its own reforms.
Our leaders cannot afford to be quiet as a church mouse anymore.
In the past, MCA leaders will say it was better to solve things behind closed doors so as not to inflame the sensitivities of the different communities.
Perhaps those days are now over.
I have put forward a lot of ideas in recent months about how the MCA should be reformed.
The MCA now needs to be more vocal in articulating the feelings of all Malaysians in order for it to remain relevant. It must change, reform and reinvent so that it continues to be the voices to not only Chinese, but to all other races in Malaysia.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Instead, it was only reported in Sunday's Nanyang Siangpau.
The rest of the Chinese dailies offered up only today some muted reaction to the candidate's suggestion.
Bahasa Malaysia and English newspapers have steered clear of reporting his statements for now.
Some people have labeled me a "political has-been", but even I can see the orchestration by my party's leaders to show the party's grassroots, the bulk of whom read the Chinese newspapers, that the endorsed candidate for the MCA presidency is indeed a man with the courage to speak out against Umno.
But has he really spoken out and articulated the frustrations of the Chinese community?
The MCA needs to break away from the old way of politics.
It is time for change. Last week, I openly pointed out that the MCA will first have to review its relationship with Umno.
I pointed out that the perception of a master-servant relationship should be removed.
The candidate endorsed by the current party leadership now says the MCA should consider leaving BN.
That may well be a logical conclusion of what I proposed.
But what is the reaction of Umno towards such a strong statement from an MCA vice-president and Cabinet Minister?
We may never know because it appears the statement so far is meant for the eyes of only the Chinese community.
This is posturing that serves no purpose except to boost the ego of the endorsed candidate for president.
There is no doubt that Umno and MCA's inability to effectively speak out for the Chinese community was a major factor in BN's poor performance in the March general elections.
The endorsed candidate's "performance" for the Chinese community is a continuation of policies which have lost the MCA crucial support from voters.
We do not need someone who only pretends to speak out for the Chinese.
We need the next MCA president to be someone who will speak out for all Malaysians.
We need the next MCA president to be someone who will speak out against all injustices.
I am so sad that the endorsed candidate still has no real or concrete manifesto as to how he wants to save MCA. It only serves as a platform for him to crusade on the issue for morality.
He is purely a leader who reacts, while what I feel the grassroots want is a leader who will lead.
It is really insulting to members to think that in this age of multi-culturalism that anyone would choose to put on a show in the Chinese newspapers for the Chinese community.
But perhaps I am wrong and I wish I am.
In that case, my request to the endorsed candidate is for him to send a letter to Umno, repeating his statement that MCA may pull out of BN if Umno does not shed its "Ketuanan Melayu" policies.
He should also officially issue statements that that will be MCA's policy should he become president.
If he does not write a letter to Umno or have a private chat with the PM about what he said, then he would be very rude issuing a threat without letting the other party know.
If he does not do any of these things then it would appear that he was just hoping to get political support to attain his ambition without actually intending to walk the talk.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Right now, public confidence in the authorities, be it the police, the various government departments or any new department to be set up to deal with DNA collection, remains very low.
There is widespread concern that the authorities are not ready for legislation making it compulsory for criminal suspects to provide DNA samples.
In conversations with ordinary Malaysians and after reading responses on the Internet as well as after listening to public reaction over the 98.8 radio station's live discussion just this morning, I have found that a majority of the public are not in favour of the DNA Bill.
I reject any suggestion that this Bill is being targeted at Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim because it does not operate retrospectively.
But there is cause for public concern over what kind of safeguards will be introduced by the government in the collection of DNA samples.
Just who will collect these samples? How well will they be trained? How do we know the DNA samples cannot be tainted?
These are some of the questions the people would like to know.
Also, why is the government proposing such wide powers which can be subject to manipulation or abuse.
I am sure the government may have good intentions, but the fact is in today's political scenario, it must work harder to win the battle of perception.
The general perception is that the authorities are generally considered inefficient, corrupt and incompetent. It is a perception that has wide support.
How is the public expected to have faith in the system?
The government must be more convincing in its arguments for the introduction of the DNA Bill.
Leaders cannot just pretend there is no public concern.
We must remember that in a democracy laws are introduced for the benefit of the people.
So the government must explain how the DNA Bill will benefit the public. It must allay concerns.
It must listen to public feedback and possibly tweak the Bill further.
Since the Bill was first mooted as far back as 2001, what is the haste in passing the legislation now?
The government should spend some time publicizing the provisions of the Bill to ensure wider acceptance or to even make sure it is indeed ready to efficiently and impartially administer the collection of DNA.
While I cannot speak for Umno, MIC and other parties in the Barisan Nasional (BN), I find it strange though that none of the senior leaders in the MCA or any of the candidates for the party elections have voiced out their concerns.
It was pointed out by one senior party leader today in The Star that if we are really committed to what we say we should walk the talk.
I am not sure if he was talking about me, but I still believe the very least MCA's representatives and leaders must do is to voice out public concerns over a myriad of issues such as the DNA Bill.
For now, I do not hold any government or party position. All I can do is to speak out thru the blog. The press will not entertain any statement by me
What I don't understand is that there are senior leaders and candidates in the MCA who still say nothing at all, and appear to offer no ideas on how to regain public support for the party. People’s private life is more concern to some of them.
Just as the government should do more to convince the people about the DNA Bill, MCA leaders must also do more to convince the public, especially the Chinese, that it still deserves to be supported.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
After its unprecedented poor showing in the 12th General Election, many calls are going out from all quarters and corners within the MCA calling for the need to re-engineer, re-organise, rebuild, re-invent and re-vitalise the party.
Reformation is crucial. MCA shall remain the same as the founding father of MCA has clearly lain out. However, it needs to be fine-tuned and taken into consideration to the political reality of Malaysia in a globalised world.
MCA has to do some soul searching and to make changes in order for the party to going forward based on 3 platforms:-
1) Real Politics. Real Influence.
2) Real Equality. Real Rights
3) Real Socio-economic Growth
1) REAL POLITICS. REAL INFLUENCE
The way forward for MCA is to be a real political party, which can fit into the new political landscape, and to reflect the political reality. How?
1.1 Change to think National
- MCA as a mono ethnic party shall exercise multi-racial approach in championing the rights and cause of the rakyat and the nation.
- MCA shall be issue centric rather than just ethno centric.
- MCA will continue to be a Chinese-based political party but it will champion not only Chinese interest but also national issue: corruption, judiciary, security, green environment, gender sensitivity, civil liberties and poverty.
- MCA will continue to dedicate itself to help the Chinese community in economic development and competitiveness, Chinese education, culture not withstanding that, it should always be issue centric rather than all just Chinese.
1.2 Change to real partnership without dominance
- MCA needs to re-look its relationship with its component party, especially UMNO. The perception of a master-servant relationship should be removed. Every component partner should have equal right, then only MCA can deliver the Chinese vote and stay competitive in the new political landscape.
- MCA seeks to have a meaningful and effective partnership. Therefore we shall ensure BN as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition, does not serve only one race, one creed, one religion. Hence, the voice of rakyat will always be heard in the corridors of power and that we will always be valued partners in the coalition.
- There is no ‘big brother’ within the Barisan Nasional, only leadership by UMNO but not dominance (as we need leadership for stability, even the PR have leadership because of Anwar Ibrahim).
- Every component party should be treated equal and fairly with the same rights of status as the rakyat of Malaysia, bearing in mind the Malay forms majority in this multi-racial society.
- It is therefore pertinent for MCA to sit down with the component parties in BN, to lay down new and clear ground rules for the future direction of the coalition. MCA needs to speak out more and vocalize their concerns publicly and respectfully, without being threatening or antagonistic.
- Each of the main component parties of BN have jealously and zealously fought and guarded the continuity and propagation of principal political agendas. However, championing of the communities rights and privileges should be less communal by way of adopting a constant, consistent and systematic approach in development planning, distribution of these rights and privileges.
- We want to make MCA a political party that will reflect the changed political landscape in Malaysia. We must have clear and unequivocal values such as love and care for the rakyat, fairness, justice, integrity, discipline, courage in our convictions and tolerance for different opinions.
- MCA should be more assertive to ensure government improves the implementation of government policies (projects) should be more transparent, fair and democratic. Hence, educational issues, religious issues and economic opportunities should be resolved without having to beg and petition the government.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Instead, a quick glance at the Chinese and English newspapers will show you that nothing of the sort has happened.
The message being sent to the Chinese community is that the MCA is a party with no ideas.
Instead of ideas, the campaign so far has been speculation about who is taking on whom for which post.
It is about whether there is a Team A or Team B, and more crucially it is about personal attacks.
Sure, I accept that morality is an issue, as was mentioned in a story I read the other day. But what I did is out there in the open. I have never said that my apology wipes clean any slate.
But frankly what I would rather talk about to party members and Malaysians in general are the real issues the MCA has to face.
The MCA has lost the support of a majority of the Chinese community. That is a fact which none of the declared candidates want to address.
So I would like to hear from the declared candidates for the top posts from the presidency downwards to let the party know how they propose to regain the support of the Chinese.
As I said before, I will have to take some responsibility for the state the MCA finds itself in, where it is seen as a weak party which does not stand up for Chinese interests or represent and articulate the aspirations and frustrations of the Chinese or other communities in the country.
But I think nearly every candidate in the party elections will have to share in the blame as well for why the Chinese are not supporting the MCA.
We are now being seen as irrelevant. While the Pakatan Rakyat parties rule and debate national issues, the MCA talks about irrelevant issues.
As I said before, the MCA will need to be seen as a party which can stand up equally before its partners in the Barisan Nasional (BN).
The party needs to be a catalyst for progress so that BN can return to its original form of partnership where no single Malaysian, regardless of race or religion, is left behind.
We need to engage Umno in dialogue to talk about the future direction.
I would like to see a great battle of ideas out there in the current election campaign, ideas on how to rebuild MCA.
Now that many of us are not even involved in state or local governments, we should have more time to put forward ideas for the future direction of the country and the party.
Perhaps we as MCA members should demand those declared candidates to come out with some concrete manifesto.
Declaring a candidacy is easy, but justifying it can be much harder.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Politicians from both political divide will be issue-centric rather than ethno-centric.
Unfortunately, it is back to business as usual for the politicians from both political divide. We have the:
1) UMNO and PAS muzakarah for Malay and Muslim unity.
Why talk only of Malay and Muslim unity when Malay leaders suppose to be national leaders in a multiracial country?
Malay dominance in politics is by virtual of numbers and also by the protection provided by the constitution. The Muslim religion as the official religion, Bahasa Melayu as Bahasa Malaysia, special privilege of Malays, all these are enshrined in the constitution. No Malay politicians will ever dream of touching this sacred instrument.
Maybe both the Malay politicial party, UMNO and PAS wants to send a message that “enough is enough” to non-Malay and non-Muslim and that if they unite, there will be force to reckon with come what may.
2) The intrusion in Bar Council’s forum on non-Muslim and problems associated with conversion by one of the spouses are real problem that we have to solve.
There should be no politics involved but unfortunately, it evoke such a strong response from UMNO, PAS and PKR. So, do not think that UMNO politicians are racist; it cuts across both the political divide.
3) Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s suggestion to open up 10% to non-bumi in UiTM causes uproar among bumi students.
I have alluded to this earlier and I will not say this anymore.
So, we have to face the political reality of Malaysian society that race and religion will always be an important party in Malaysia’s political landscape. Policies that are issue-centric and not ethno-centric remain an elusive dream for Malaysians.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
But I do fear that some interest groups will try to manipulate the issue into a zero sum game between the different races of this country, which is to say that one racial group can only benefit at the expense of another.
This has turned into another divisive issue, which cannot be healthy for the country. If we are not careful, the country will be torn apart by our differences of opinion rather than be united by our common goals.
While I respect the rights of students and various bodies to object to Tan Sri Khalid’s suggestion, it is the angry tone of the protests, as exemplified through various press statements and the placards carried by protesters, which has caused some concern among the majority of all right-thinking Malaysians from all races and religions.
Education is a particularly politicized issue in this country, although it should not be so. What the MCA and its senior leaders should emphasize at this point is its stand on the issue.
The MCA should seek to point out that the common goal for all Malaysians is for the government to ensure the highest quality educational opportunities for all Malaysians, be they Malays, Kadazans, Ibans, Indians or Chinese. Whether or not UiTM is opened to non-Bumipueras is an issue which can be discussed in an open, mature fashion.
While I understand the aversion of most Malaysians and their political leaders towards any racially-charged issue, it is also unhealthy to sweep things under the carpet. I believe the majority of right-thinking Malaysians, be they of any racial group, are not just mature enough but are also sensitive enough to each other’s feelings to discuss and debate issues of concern to everyone.
Name-calling or sloganeering will not resolve matters, unless we are in a competition to see who can shout the loudest. The MCA, as one of the oldest political party in the country, can play a role, to be a beacon of moderation and progressiveness, if its leaders stand up for all Malaysians in times like these.
If other races feel uncomfortable with the Chinese, for example, it is the MCA’s responsibility to assure them that what we stand for is a Malaysia in which all of us are equal partners in this country.
I believe that Tan Sri Khalid’s suggestion should be taken at face value. I choose to see it as a suggestion which everyone is entitled to disagree with, but should be respected. I cannot see how he should be called a traitor, as was suggested in some of the strong public statements in response to his suggestion.
If the institution were to ever open its doors to non-Bumiputeras, it would be welcomed, just as any educational institution associated with the Chinese community always welcomes students from all communities.
I am sure it will promote interaction among students of all races. This is what the Government is trying to do with all sorts of programs. Let us not be distracted by the divisive rhetoric of the past week, whether it is about religion or race. Let us talk about our common goals as Malaysians to ensure the best education for all Malaysians.
Education is not a zero sum game.
Monday, August 11, 2008
For me, the very thuggish behavior of the protesters (UMNO, PAS and PKR combine) has caused me much distress, as I am sure it did all right-thinking Malaysians regardless of race and religion. I have always believed that all Malaysians are entitled to their own views, but not to the extent of using aggression and the threat of violence to shut up those with whom we do not agree. This has caused much fear and concern, especially in the hearts of the non-Muslim community.
The MCA, as the biggest non-Muslim party in the BN coalition has a responsibility to speak up. The party must stand up and be the instrument by which the non-Muslim community can articulate its feelings and frustrations to the BN leadership, or risk being condemned to the political scrapheap of this country. I have noticed some criticisms of late about how I was also to blame for my party keeping quiet over many issues in the past few years when I was still a vice-president. To these critics, I will tell you this. I will take responsibility. None of us did enough. The results of the March elections have thought us that we all should have pushed harder to maintain our role as leaders of the Chinese community. But we must now look forward. And the MCA can no longer afford to make such mistakes again.
Friday, August 8, 2008
• be someone willing to speak out for the Chinese community and for Malaysians of all races and religions as well.
• have the strength and conviction to do and say what is right and necessary.
• cannot be a person who just pretends nothing is wrong, or sweeps the frustrations and concerns of his constituents under the carpet.
• be a team player and a team builder. He must be someone the party can unite together with. He should not be aloof and distant from the feelings of the community, and must be able to unite the strength he has with the warmth and comfort a leader must portray and show it to the community.
• be able to communicate with the ordinary members and the community, and represent their feelings and aspirations.
• stand up for party grassroots and other ordinary Malaysians. Malaysians clearly do not want is a leader who makes excuses and that everything is sensitive for open discussion. What is clear from the March election results and even up till now is that the Chinese in Malaysia no longer see the MCA as a party which speaks out for them. Even the MCA's own members feel detached from the leadership and the direction of the party.
• be like a phoenix and rise from the ashes. Only then MCA will find itself in and prove its deserving of support from the Chinese community.
• talk to the people and must listen to them to convey their views, concerns, frustrations and hopes to the government. Speak out more against injustice and strive to ensure all of our political partners understand the need for all Malaysians to have and feel an equal stake in the country.
These are some of the things the next MCA president must do.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The amendment I understand allows students to join any lawful society and organization. I cannot accept that students joining political party will affect their studies and hence, restrict their freedom of thoughts. Early exposure by students to the political reality in Malaysia is important so that our university students are politically mature. It is in the university that students have time to ponder, mix and to decide which political party or organizations they like to be associated with. This is not a life long attachment since students can opt out of any political party or organizations when they decide to do so at later stage. Often it is in university that students develop interest, either political or apolitical. They need this space to develop their full potential.
These amendments will also give greater autonomy to university board, including appointment of vice chancellor and professor. This amendment will reduce the power of Minister of Higher Education in respect of appointment of vice chancellor, professor and academic board. In its place, there will be more consultation and discussion among university members. Hopefully, there will be less politics involved in the appointment of senior academic staffs in university. This is often been cited as one of the reasons why standards of local university have been going downhill. Hopefully, senior academic staffs in our local universities demonstrate more professionalism in their discharge of duty, reflective of the type of standards we expect from the academician. Otherwise, the amendment will only be good on paper and the greater autonomy enjoyed by university will be nullified by the academician.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
As I said on the programme, the MCA may be a Chinese party but our outlook must be multi-racial. We must be issue-centered. The issues the Chinese are concerned about today cuts across racial barriers. These issues include the economy, corruption, Hindraf and equal access to educational opportunities. That is why the concept of Malay unity has sparked some concerns among the Chinese community. The Chinese have responded strongly in favour of the purportedly more multi-racial approach of the Pakatan Rakyat alliance.
While I do not believe the Pakatan Rakyat is better placed to unite all Malaysians, it is nevertheless necessary for us in the MCA to respond or else we will be painted into a corner as a coalition which represents narrow racial interests. The concept of Malay unity in the form of any Umno-PAS alliance is a turn-off to most Chinese voters because it suggests other races are precluded. The presence of PAS in Pakatan Rakyat is less of a concern because PKR is multiracial and the strongest party. It is our responsibility to ask UMNO if they realize they risk alienating non-Malays permanently.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) concept is still the only way for Malaysia to progress together as partners. But right now, the copycat version in Pakatan Rakyat appears much more appealing to many Malaysians because the different members –DAP, PKR, PAS – seem to have an equal say in the direction of the alliance, and are united under Anwar Ibrahim. Many voters stopped supporting the original – BN – because Umno appeared too powerful, and the other partners appeared to have less say in the direction of the country. We in the BN will have to work hard to change this perception. And this must be done together as partners.
The fragile co-operation between Pakatan Rakyat is possible because of Anwar Ibrahim. I cannot imagine how it will work in the longer term.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Q: Speculation is rife that you're gunning for the No 1 post.
A: I thank the people for their confidence in me. I'm still gauging the support of the central delegates and MCA members. When I resigned (his government and party positions after the sex DVD on him surfaced), I was only a party vice-president. I can stand for vice-president, deputy or president. The thing I have to take into consideration is my ability, whether I can contribute to the reformation of MCA.
Q: There's talk about Team A-Team B factions in MCA led by shadow generals.
A: This Team A-Team B thing has existed from Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik's time. After he retired, Team A and Team B were represented by (Datuk Seri) Ong Ka Ting and (Datuk Seri) Chan Kong Choy respectively. But over the years, (the line of division) has become blurred. The remnants of Team A and B still exist, but the demarcation is not that clear. Some Team A people have gone over to Team B and vice versa.
Q: There's a totally new Team A and Team B now led by former presidents.
A: I don't think it's true. To get Tun Dr Ling involved is grossly unfair. He has said many times that he doesn't want to get involved. It's pure speculation that he's involved.
Of course, in the case of Ka Ting, he's still an MP. There is speculation that he would continue to exercise some influence as a former president, an MP and through his brother (Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan).
We don't know what happens between these two brothers and I don't think we will ever know. So, it will always remain as speculation. But the possibility is there and people will talk about it.
Q: Many people believe Dr Ling's influence is still very strong and that he favours you for the top post.
How influential he is, I really don't know. Whether his personal touch will influence people in their choice of candidates, is still a question mark.
Q: Has he had talks with you?
Q: Has he given any advice or indicated his support?
There's been a lot of calls that I should stand for one of the senior posts in view of my public performance. They say Johor is a good example (of strong MCA showing) and I've been the state chairman.
In the 2004 general election, we (Johor MCA) scored 100 per cent. This year -- I resigned in January and the election was in March, so Johor MCA was still under me at the time -- despite the political tsunami, Johor MCA candidates scored about 90 per cent (success), compared with a lot of other states where we got zero.
They always say Johor MCA is slightly different from the rest and there's a need to share whatever experience and knowledge that I have to rebuild MCA.
Q: So why is Johor MCA different?
Two, we have very good relationship with other Barisan Nasional component parties.
Three, we have had excellent relationship with the state government. We worked together to solve a lot of Chinese problems, from allocation for Chinese schools -- which no other state has -- to Chinese temples and allocation for MCA divisions.
Q: All these are contributed by MCA's strong standing in Johor?
A: These came about because of the long, continuous interaction between MCA and the state government.
In this respect, I must thank the menteris besar of Johor -- Tan Sri Muhyiddin (Yassin), when I was in the state exco, and the close cooperation which has continued with (Datuk Abdul) Ghani (Othman). So, we don't have incidents of temples being demolished.
The other says that when you're a public figure, your private life is also of their concern.
I had the moral courage to admit, apologise and resign from all posts. I could have indulged in self-pity and bitterness and lived a life of bitterness.
Or I could choose to serve the party and the community, which I've been doing for the last 23 years.
Now I'm starting (political career) all over. It's like a rebirth -- from an ordinary MCA member from the branch to division to national.
After I resigned, there were many indications to give me encouragement to continue to serve and optimise whatever strengths I have. From the general election until now, I continue to receive a lot of invitations to officiate at functions.
Q: From within and without MCA?
A: Yes, even non-governmental organisations. I try not to accept too many invitations because I don't want too much public exposure.
Q: The reason being?
A: People (might) say, "this person doesn't seem to regret. He's showing his face everywhere".
Q: So you're repentant now?
A: I have admitted my guilt. I've resigned -- that is like a form of punishment.
I'm willing to start all over again, which means I leave it to the delegates to decide my political destiny, whether my private life is more important than my public performance.
I've publicly admitted my weaknesses. At no time did I try to deny it. At no time did I say it "looks like me and sounds like me but it's not me".
You can see the connection between my political career and the move to destroy me. It's what we call character assassination. You don't need rocket science to establish this.
Whether it's a new DVD or an old DVD, it's the same. I'm the same Dr Chua, with the same weaknesses, same strengths.
So, I leave it to the delegates to decide if they are willing to allow character assassination to bring down the leaders.
If you look at the country now, people are no more talking about performance. People are talking about character assassination. People are not concerned about what you do, but are more concerned about what you do in your privacy.
Q: But as a public figure and a leader, your private and public actions both reflect you and your integrity.
A: Oh yes, I'm the first to admit it. I never say that it looks like me and sounds like me (but isn't me). I'm the first to come out and tell people what I am.
It is up to the delegates to decide whether to accept my weaknesses and strengths.
Q: Have you overcome any of the weaknesses you admitted to?
A: No, this is my girlfriend of nearly 12 years. My wife is aware of it. She has openly said, "I married my husband. I know he's not a saint. But he's a good husband, a good family man."
Q: Are you still seeing this girlfriend?
Q: Some say this year's MCA election is between young guns and veterans.
A: I think these are the terminologies given by the press. People have forgotten that when Dr Ling became president, he was much younger than Ka Ting -- he was 43. Ka Ting became president at the age of 48.
It isn't about young guns and veterans. MCA has a large membership. Most of the members who are active are between the ages of 35 and 60. What's the difference between 53 and 58 years old when the average lifespan of Malaysians is about 75?
Q: What kind of president does MCA need right now?
We cannot have one who is aloof and out of touch with what's happening with the Chinese community. We cannot have an MCA leader who is weak.
We cannot have an MCA leader who tries classifying every issue confronting the Chinese community as "sensitive" and so says there is no need to discuss it.
In the last three years, we had an image problem (because of this).
Q: Just in the last three years?
There was also a significant shift from MCA being a political party to as if it was an NGO, doing more social work.
If MCA wants to change, it has to be a real political party focusing on politics, economics and education.
These are the three core issues that affect every Malaysian, more so the Chinese who are worried about their position in the country, their political rights, their sharing of the economic cake and educational opportunities.
The other issues are equally important, but they can be done by NGOs. We can co-operate with NGOs. We can support them, fund them, advise them.
MCA should regain its traditional role as a political party. It must not only be vocal.
However vocal MCA becomes, it can never be more vocal than Lim Kit Siang because he has been in this business for the last 30 years.
It is not a question of being vocal. It's a question of how effective you are in solving problems.
Q: But even after the March general election, MCA has not changed any of its problem-solving tactics.
A: To say that there is no change is not true. There were attempts but I would put it as too little and too late. After the election, there was a lot of scepticism.
Q: Does the new president have to be seen to be able to stand up to Umno?
The Chinese know that we (MCA) are not the know-all; that we do not have a magical wand that can solve all problems.
Even Umno has a lot of problems confronting the Malay community. But as long as you champion their rights, I think they're more than happy.
But if you keep quiet in the name of sensitivity, then people cannot accept MCA any more.
Q: What do you think you have to offer to MCA members if you were to go for any of the top posts?
A: If we want to rebrand or reform MCA, you must have a leadership which is not out of touch with the members and the community.
It must not be based on empty slogans -- beautiful Chinese slogans which you and I may not be able to understand. For your information, they're all taken from Taiwan.
Two, we cannot sing the old tune anymore, which is "you vote us, you get political stability". We got whacked (on March 8) but there's still political stability.
You vote us, you have power- sharing. There's no need to have MCA for power-sharing. They can go through DAP and Pakatan Rakyat for power-sharing.
And we offer good services by looking after roads and drains and garbage.
The people want more from us. They want to see us as a real political party in power; a party that can solve most, if not all, of their problems.
And we cannot be all Chinese any more. We have to be more multiracial in our outlook and approach in solving problems. While we can champion the rights of the Chinese community, we should make our stand very clear on other issues in this country.
When you talk about the judiciary, the Lingam tape and Hindraf, MCA kept quiet.
This is something which the Chinese community was not happy about.
We cannot continue to move forward by talking only all Chinese and the rest have nothing to do with us. We are a component, a unit in a multiracial country.
So while we continue to be a mono-ethnic party, we have to be more multiracial in our outlook and in our response to solving problems.
Q: How can MCA achieve that?
When Pas and Umno are having talks, MCA should make its stand clear.
One MCA minister says something, another minister says it's no go, but another minister says if you don't infringe on our rights, it's okay.
A strong leadership will clearly state MCA's stand. Whether you like it or not, this is our stand. This is what leadership is all about. But because there's no leadership, everybody talks.
How we interact with Umno leaders, how we bring up our problems to Umno in the cabinet are important.
Q: There is talk that Malaysians, or Malaysian Chinese, are not really concerned about MCA elections because ultimately MCA will still play second fiddle to big brother Umno.
A: Yes. That's why MCA must be more assertive and play its role as a party in government.
Q: So there's a need to review how MCA works within BN?
Q: MCA has always been ready to condemn DAP over its alliance with Pas. How do you view the Umno-Pas talks and Perak Umno's invitation to Pas?
I'm not very optimistic about politics being non-racial in this country. That is the political reality of things.
Q: Datin Paduka Tan Yee Kew (who is crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat) said, "We get elected MCA leaders who are not true leaders because they don't have popular support." What is your comment on the phantom voters that she alluded to?
The process of setting up a branch and becoming a member is long and tedious, not transparent, not democratic and sometimes not fair.
If you look at the number of members in an MCA division, it's always the same as the number of Chinese voters in that area.
Do you believe it? I find it unbelievable. In other words, there's padding by some leaders who need the phantom support. So in that sense, Dr Tan is correct.
If we want a list that is good, we should do an audit and verification exercise after the election.
BY TAN CHOE CHOE, NEW STRAITS TIMES
Friday, August 1, 2008
There is now talk of reform in Umno, MCA, MIC and other BN component party members, following the disastrous showing of the March elections. Whether or not the reforms will satisfy the voting public, time will tell. PAS, on the other hand, is a party which will never change its stripes. That is something I believe in and it is something which even the DAP and PKR surely must know. And of course, Umno must know that PAS will never back down on their aspirations to form an Islamic state.
For now, the DAP and more moderate forces in the Pakatan Rakyat are already finding it hard to curb the more extreme forces within PAS. Can Umno do it? Why would PAS want to join forces with Umno if their influence ends up being diluted? Surely they would only want to join forces with Umno only if they can expand their influence, and to further their cause towards forming an Islamic state.
That is why the Chinese and other non-Muslim communities in Malaysia are uncomfortable with any kind of discussion with PAS. Of course, you could ask then why is it the Chinese threw their support behind Pakatan Rakyat which includes PAS. I believe the Chinese remain uncomfortable with PAS, but have been willing to throw their support behind Pakatan Rakyat because of their frustrations with the BN government. If PAS were to flex their muscles more, I think the Chinese would eventually reexamine their support for PAS. PAS has shown it will exert all sorts of pressure to inject “Islamic values” into society even when it is a junior partner in any state government. The Islamist party pressured the Selangor government into disallowing the sale of beers by a major sponsor at the recent Chelsea-Malaysia friendly match in Shah Alam. The objection was purely based on the presence of Muslims in the stadium. The party has also successfully stopped Indonesian singer Inul from holding her concert in Kuala Lumpur because they deemed her performance too suggestive. All this and they are not even in power in Selangor or KL.
We in the MCA should make it clear to Umno what is the stand and feelings of the Chinese community with regards to any Umno-PAS talks. If we say nothing we give tacit approval to anything which materializes out of such talks.
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Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.
Thank you for your suggestions.