Saturday, August 30, 2008

给《南洋商报》的文告

8月30日《南洋商报》晚报错误报道我的言论,把他人的建议变为我的立场,该报较后发现但已无法及时纠正,错植的新闻今日在南马和北马地区已见报。这是很严重的错误,我认为必须澄清,以免读者错解我对马华是否退出国阵课题的立场。以下是我发给《南洋商报》的澄清文告.

我希望该报章能发挥专业和正确的办报精神,纠正错处据实报道。

--文告--

(吉隆坡30讯)马华巴株峇辖区会主席拿督斯里蔡细历医生强调,他没有说过如果在党选当选总会长或任何高职,他将立即带领马华离开国阵。

“我向来没有这样说过。我的言论被《南洋商报》错误报道。”

他说,马华是否退出国阵不是一件小事,必须要深思熟虑才能定夺,党的去路也不是任由一个领袖主宰的。

他今日针对南洋商报错误报道如果他本人当选总会长,将即刻宣布马华退出国阵的言论,发表文告澄清。

“我必须作出澄清,因为有关报道和我的言论南辕北辙。很多党同志看了报道后对我的立场感到混淆,纷纷来电询问。”

蔡细历于周五晚出席双溪大年吉中中华工商会第5届理事宣誓就职典礼后,被媒体追问是否会建议马华退出国阵时,重申他已多次在本身的部落格表明立场。

相反的,他说,马华副总会长拿督翁诗杰既然提出马华退出马华的建议,他应该写信给巫统及直接告诉首相,并正式声明一旦当选总会长,他将会带领马华离开国阵,而不要只是在向中文报章发表言论。

蔡细历也已在本身的部落格挑战翁诗杰这么做。


以下是该报的报道:

蔡细历:若当选总会长 马华即刻退出国阵 2008/08/29 19:05:16
●南洋商报

(双溪大年29日讯)针对“退出国阵”风波,马华前总会长拿督斯里蔡细历扬言,一旦当选总会长,将毫不犹豫宣布马华退出国阵!
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。

http://www.nanyang.com/index.php?ch=7&pg=10&ac=878288

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Indication of Anwar Ibrahim's Victory in Permatang Pauh

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's thumping victory in Permatang Pauh is an indictment on Umno, MCA, MIC and the entire Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

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

CANDIDATES SHOULD NOT ONLY PRETEND TO SPEAK OUT FOR THE COMMUNITY

ONE would think that when the only man running for the post of MCA president says the party may have to pull out of the Barisan Nasional if Umno continues to champion the concept of "Ketuanan Melayu," it should make the front page of all newspapers.

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.
--------------------------------------------

一般认为,当那惟一已经表态要竞选马华总会长职的政治人物声明如果巫统仍然保持“大马人主义”态度,那么马华极有可能退出国阵的言论,理应会吸引传媒的聚焦,成为报章的热点头条。

然而,只有星期天的南洋商报以显刊报道这则新闻。其他报章也只在今天(周一)报道其他领袖的回应。马来文和英文报章则明显地避开了关课题。

一些人形容我是“过气政治人物”,我也看见我党领袖们指那些有阅读中文报章的广大基层认为,这名被钦点竞选马华总会长职的政治人物,很勇敢发表针对巫统的言论。
问题是,他是真正反映及阐述华人社会的不满吗?

马华必须弃旧纳新,突破旧政治格局,现在是改变的时候。

上星期,我公开指出马华要改变,首先要检讨和巫统的关系。我也表明,马华必须去除和巫统的主从关系。

今天,这位获现任领导层首肯和拥护的候选人却说马华应考虑退出国阵。

如此强烈的言论出自一名马华副总会长兼内阁部长口中,巫统会有怎样的反应?我们可能永远不会知道,因为目前只有华社可以看到有关声明。

说这番话除了让这名候选人长自己威风、提高声势,实际上对解决问题并没有多大帮助。

无可否认巫统和马华无力有效反映华社民意,是国阵在308大选流失华裔选票的主要原因。这名被钦点候选人对华社的“表现”,其实就是延续那导致马华丧失选民支持的政策。

我们不要那些假惺惺为华社说话的人!

我们需要一名有能力为全民说话的总会长。我们需要敢于和所有不公现象对立的总会长。

我感到遗憾,这位被领导层推举的候选人,至今还未真正提出任何具体和务实的改革宣言和主张,反而使用这个平台进行道德征伐。

他是只懂得回应的领袖,而我却感觉到基层要的,是一名可以领导的领袖。
在这多元文化时代,还有人只懂得在华文报章上做戏,这对党员简直是一种侮辱。

也许我是错的。我希望我是错的。

因此,我要求这位候选人致函给巫统,以重复他的声明,直接告诉巫统如果他们不摆脱马来主义政策,马华将离开巫统。

他也应该发表一项正式声明,即若他出任马华总会长,这将是马华的政策。

如果他不致函巫统,或不私下向首相说明,提出警告却不让对方知道的做法是很无礼的。

如果他没有采取以上任何一行动,那看起来他只想通言论来获取政治支持来达到他的目的和野心,而无意实践这项建议。

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Government must be more convincing in arguing for DNA Bill

Taken from google images

The government must not hastily push through the passage of the DNA Bill which has been presented before Parliament, until the matter is properly debated on publicly and its implications are properly explained.

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

MCA’s Reform: REAL POLITICS. REAL INFLUENCE


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.


第12届全国大选的空前挫败,在党內许多人都发自內心的呼吁吶喊马华要重整,要重组,要重建,要再创造更要再生!马华需要改革,但创党先贤坚持的建党宗旨和目标不应改变。只是,它需要因国家政治現实及全球化时代而调整。

马华要能继续向前迈进,则需自我反省及自我改变,并奠定在3个基础进行革兴:
真正的政治。真正的影响力。
真正的平等。真正的权利
真正的社会经济成长

1 )真正的政治。真正的影响力

--------------------------------------
马华未來要能走得更远一定要成为真正的政党,做一个能契合新政治生态及反映政治现实的政党。要从何开始?

1。1视野要大,思维要广

马华是一个单一种族的政党,但却要有多元种族思维的运作,为全民及国家争取权益及斗争。简单来说,马华的问政要立足在课题,而不是种族。

马华将继续作为华基政党,只是它的斗争不只为华社议题,也要概括全民国家议题:贪污腐败,司法公正,社会治安,环境保护,两性平权,公民人权及贫穷弱势。

因此,马华会继续为协助族群在经济发展、提升竞争力、华文教育及文化传承方面贡献力量,而且是以更大的视野來关心这些议题,换言之不只是为单一族群斗争。

1。2改变一党独大,成为真正伙伴

马华要重新省思自己在国阵里与其他成员党的关系,尤其是和巫统,一定要去除主从关系。每一个成员党都是平起平坐,那么马华才能反映华裔选民心声,并在新的政治生态中拥有一席之地。

我们需确保国阵是一个多元种族的联盟,而非单一种族、单一信条、单一宗教的政盟。唯有如此,全民的声音及意愿才能直达天听,马华在国阵里才有存在的价值。

国阵不再有”老大哥”,巫统只是盟体里的其中一个领导,而非独权(我们需要能稳定局面的领导,正如民联以安华为领导主干)。

国阵里每个成员党都是平起平坐,具有同等的权利和地位,因为我们都是马來西亚人,但我们要时时谨记,我国的多元种族社会是以马來人居大多数。

因此,马华要与国阵其他成员党讨论未來政治联盟的发展方向及相处之道,对我们所关注的议题,
马华不只要大声说,还要公开说,有尊严的说,不再担心说了会引起对立或遭到恐吓。

马华坚持,国阵各个成员党不能为了滿足本身特权因而剥夺甚至影响了整体发展及規划。我们要把马华落实为真正的政治组织,以便能适应国家新的政治生态。我们要有明确及清楚的政治价值观,我们的政治信念中要具备关爱全民,公平正义,讲求诚信,纪律与勇氣,当然我们也要包容不同的声音。

马华要更有自信,确保政府的施政政策及计划更具透明度,公平和民主。因此,我们无需再通过乞求及请愿來要求政府解决教育课题,宗教议题及经济机会。

Sunday, August 17, 2008

MCA ELECTION SHOULD BE A BATTLE OF IDEAS TO SAVE THE PARTY/ 马华党选应为救党的政见之争

The MCA election campaign should be a battle of ideas, so that party grassroots can vote for the best team to save the party and chart its direction for the future.

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.
We need a leader who can rebuild our party into a cohesive team which will not be bullied by anyone.

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.


马华党选已近在眉睫。我认为,马华党选应该是场比拼政见的战役,候选人要提出前瞻性的政见,让基层党员投选出一个可以拯救党,及规划党未来方向的最佳领导团队。

然而,目前中、英文报章所报道的马华党选新闻,我们看不到这一点。相反的,综合报道所传达给华社的讯息,显示马华是一个没有主张、政见的政党。而报道的重点皆聚焦臆测准候选人的动向、竞选哪些高职。媒体的焦点也离不开“A队”或“B队”,更严重的是出现了人身攻击的舆论。

我认同道德是一项课题,关于道德,我在之前的文贴说得很清楚,也在公开言论里表达我的想法,却从来没说过要以道歉为自己漂白。

与其去争论,我宁用更多时间精力去探讨、与向党同志及马来西亚人民谈论马华迫切面对的大课题。

马华已经失去大部分华人的支持,但迄今却没有任何一名已表态的候选人愿意去评论这个事实。

因此,我希望从那些已表态竞选高职的候选人口中听到更多实在的政见,也让党员了解他们将如何让华社重拾信心,继续支持马华。

诚如我之前所说,马华今天被视为无法争取华社利益、被批未能够代表反映华社及其他族群意愿,我也须承担部分责任。但我认为几乎每一位党选候选人,都必须共同承担马华失去华社支持的责任。

今天,当人民联盟不断发表和激辩国家课题,马华却还只谈论不切实际的议题。也难怪华社视马华为不切实际的政党。

对于马华的改革要项,我已多次公开论述。马华要能和其他国阵成员党平起平坐。马华要担当促使国阵改革前进的催化角色,复原国阵原有的伙伴合作模式,不计宗教、种族确保所有马来西亚人民不被忽略。因此,我们需要与和巫统对话,讨论未来的方向。

回到马华,我们需要一位可以重建马华、能内聚全党力量勇拒他人欺凌的领袖。因此,我热切期望,这一次的党选能够催生重振党威、重建马华的精辟政见。

目前,很多党同志都无官职,无需参与州或地方政府发展的决策议会,我们应该有更多时间去构思攸关国家及党的未来方向。

或许,身为马华党员的我们,应该要求已经表态竞选的候选人,更具体地阐述他们的竞选宣言。宣布竞选容易,但要证明竞选的议程则不简单!




Friday, August 15, 2008

Business as usual for politicians post 308 election?

Post 308 election, there was a lot of optimism bordering on euphoria that politics in this country has become non-racial.

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

Education Is Not A Zero Sum Game/ 教育非零和游戏

The strong reaction to the Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s suggestion that UiTm be opened to non-Bumiputeras is alarming, adding to the racially-charged tension of the past week which started with the protests over the Bar Council forum on Muslim conversion issues last Saturday.Tan Sri Khalid in making the suggestion, is saying what non-bumi like to hear.

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.

雪兰莪州务大臣丹斯里卡立提出开放玛拉工艺学院的学额给非土著的建议,引起马来社群强烈,这令日前因为反对律师工会举办回教徒论坛所挑起的种族紧张气氛升温。事实上,丹斯里卡立所说的正是非土著所爱听的话。
然而,我担心有心人将企图把上述课题扭曲成国内各种族间的一场零和游戏,即一个种族得益,等于其他族群蒙亏。这将演变成一个分歧性的课题,对国家不是一种健康现象。如果我们不谨慎处理,国家将因为意见的分歧而四分五裂,失焦于为共同目标而团结一致。

我尊重那些学生及各组织的反对权力,那是群众的愤怒声音,他们通过声明文告及大字报提出抗议,来自国内各种族、宗教背景的有正确思维人士,已经对这样的局势表示关注。尽管我们坚持教育不该被政治化,但在我国,教育课题已经成为政治议题。

而在玛拉大学的风波上,马华及其资深领袖当前必须阐明他们在这个课题的立场。

马华应该指出,全体马来西亚人民的共同目标,是要政府确保能向所有人民提供最高素质的教育机会,不论是马来人、卡达山族、伊班族、印裔或华人。玛拉工艺大学是否要开放给非土著,其实是一项可以开放及成熟的讨论。

据我了解,大部分大马人民及政治领袖对任何种族课题感到不自在,其实把问题扫在地毯下是不健康的做法。我相信,大部分有正确思维的大马人民,不管他们来自哪一个宗教,不仅是态度成熟,同时也能够以体谅他人感受的态度,去讨论或辩论那些尤关每一个人权益的课题。

指名道性或高喊口号将无法解决事情,除非我们比赛谁喊得最大声。马华作为国内其中一个历史悠久的政党,可以扮演引领中庸及先进性的角色。举例说,如果其他族群对华人不满,那么马华有责任向他族证明,我们强调的是国内全体人民都是同等的伙伴。

我认为应该从表面意义去看待丹斯里卡立的建议。或者这是所有人都不赞同的建议,但必须给予尊重。我不认为他应该被视为叛徒。

若该大学日后开放给非土著,将是受欢迎的举措,就像任何由华社创办的学员,一向来都开放门户给各族群学生。我确信,这将促进各种族学生互相交融,这也是政府在各项计划所要贯彻的精神。我们不要因为过去一星期出现言分歧论而自我分化,不论是关系到宗教或种族。让我们放眼一个共同目标,确保所有大马人民都能有最好的教育。

教育绝对不是一场零和游戏!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Cancellation of Bar Council Forum

我在上一篇文章说道,马华下一任总会长必须具备的其中一项条件是要能够为华社、各种族及宗教背景的人民说话;然而迄今,我党资深领袖并未怎样针对上周六发生的律师工会主办的改教论坛事件,发表他们的见解。可能他们忙碌于竞选拉票,我们也看到一些领袖无暇处理上述课题,但却忙碌于评论道德观及道歉行为。

对我来说,那些态度强硬的抗议人士(包括巫统、回教党及人民公正党党员)让我感到困扰,我相信,拥有正确思维、不计种族及宗教背景的人民也会有同感。我坚持,所有大马人民有权表现或提出个人看法,但不应该通过呐喊或暴力行为,向那些我们不满的人咆哮。这已引起人民更严重的恐惧及关注,尤其是在非回教徒社会。

无可否认,因为国家回教化意识的慢慢伸延,以及回教组织的种种举措,已导致非回教徒感到被边缘化,但这不表示非回教徒是反回教分子。我相信大部分回教徒了解这一点。无论如何,改教论坛抗议者上周六的强硬举动,已经伤害了种族间多年来所建立的互相信任。

马华作为国阵最大非马来人成员党,有责任反映这一点。马华必须发挥力量及扮演角色,让非回教徒社会能够通过它,向国阵领导层反映感受及愤慨,或者政治课题所衍生出的风险。
我也了解,在我谴责我党过去几年(当我还是副总会长)对很多课题保持沉默后,就出现一些舆论认为我亦难辞其咎。因此,我要告诉你们,我愿意负责,也会负责,其实我们都做得不够。308大选成绩已经教训我们必须要更努力,以继续维持我们作为华社领袖的角色。
往者不谏,来者可追。马华不能重蹈覆辙了。
In my last posting, I pointed out that one of the attributes the next MCA president should have is the ability to speak out for the Chinese community and for Malaysians of all races and religions. So far, I have not heard much from my party's senior leaders about how they feel about what happened at last Saturday's Bar Council forum on the effects of Muslim conversions. Perhaps they are still busy campaigning. Some of my party's leaders are also busying themselves with talk about morality and apologies, instead of making a stand on an issue which concerns us all.

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.
There is no doubt now that many in the non-Muslim community feel marginalized by the creeping Islamisation of the country and its institutions. This does not mean that non-Muslims are anti-Islam. I believe that most of the Muslim community understands this. However, the thuggish behavior of last Saturday's protesters will have done much harm to whatever trust which has been built up over the years.

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.

挑战派难获表名册 候选人宣传遇阻拦

马华挑战派索取中央代表名册面对种种难题,以致候选人的宣传工作难以进行!

蔡细历指出,挑战派与当权派有别,单是索取中央代表名册,就必须面对种种难题。

“公平竞选,应让所有候选人拿到名册,方便宣传工作进行。”

他以全国大选为例,国阵不能因是政府,而拒绝让反对党拿选民册,这是绝对行不通的。

不宜太早表明动向 他直言,这也是他多年的经验累积所得,挑战派不适合提早宣布要攻打的职位。 询及何时宣布竞选职位,他笑说,最理想的是自己设下时间,若可拖到提名那天才公布也不错。

“我肯定会竞选,但未就职位决定,毕竟还要听取党员的意愿与意见,还要考虑本身如何有效协助马华改革、转形,然后才在恰当时间宣布。”

对于马华直选制度的建议,他认为,这项建议很好,但实行时将面对很多问题,如党员册就具争论性,即是党员是否真正存在,如已去世或搬家。

他说,若要进行直选制度,首要步骤是审查党员名册,鉴定后才能推行。 针对推行直选制度,翁诗杰高票中选的说法,蔡细历指出,这是他自己的看法,还未有决定前,他不敢说直选翁诗杰将会最高票(中选)。

上电台高调“拉票”

他在988电台高调“拉票”,呼吁马华中央代表“不要忘记蔡细历医生”。

蔡细历受访时指出,他拒绝接受任何委任的职位,因为要把政治命运交给党员决定,那就应该靠竞选来进行。

“没有人是十全十美的,任何竞争都有输赢,我有信心党员将考虑领袖的表现,而不是单看个人的私事。诚如中国领导人邓小平所说,不管黑猫还是白猫,捉到老鼠就是好猫。”

针对光碟事件幕后黑手可能在关键时刻“出手”,他说,他可以误导群众、打击他,但党应该谈改革、转形,而不是针对个人或领袖的私事。

“我希望中央代表们,利用你手上神圣的一票做出正确决定,不要忘记蔡细历医生。”

< 南洋商报 09.08.08>

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Next MCA President

I was invited to Radio 98.8 program this morning. There was this question about what are the qualities that MCA President should have in order to lead MCA into a better future. To me, the next MCA president and central leadership can no longer be weak and indecisive. He must also:

• 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

Amendment to University and University College Act

The University College Act has a lot of restrictions on university students. This act has often been condemned as to restrict academic freedom. While there are many good points in these amendments, there are others who feel they are not going far enough. This act is often being blamed for the low level of understanding in politics and involvement among youths in political activities since it is a criminal offence to be involved in political acts while still studying.

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

Racial in a Multiracial Pakatan Rakyat?

As some of you may know, I appeared live on RTM2's What Say You programme on Sunday to discuss the consequences of Umno-PAS talks on multiracialism in Malaysia. While it was a lively discussion, what is clear from the response to the programme is that the Chinese in Malaysia no longer see things from a narrow racial perspective. The MCA must evolve along with the Chinese community in articulating such views.

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

Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek : 'I had moral courage to admit it'



Despite his DVD sex scandal, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is being touted as one of the top contenders for the presidency in the upcoming MCA elections. Fresh from winning the Batu Pahat MCA division seat uncontested, he tells TAN CHOE CHOE that MCA members have to decide whether to judge him by his public performance or his private actions.

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.
A: You cannot prevent people from having this perception because he was the president for 17 years and he has been very easy-going, very friendly and he keeps in touch with MCA members.

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?
A: I do contact him over the phone, but more on a social basis.

Q: Has he given any advice or indicated his support?
A: No, not really.


Q: You said the grassroots have forgiven you after the divisional election. Are they ready to accept you if you contest the party presidency?
A: I have considerable support throughout the country. Whether that support is strong enough for me to contest any post, I'm not sure.


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?
A: One, Johor MCA has always been united, compared with the other states. We have a more solid organisation.

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.

It's the only state where we have a lot of reserve land for Chinese schools. It's the only state that allocates land for temples and (Hindu) kuil.

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.

Q: How big an obstacle is your sex scandal to your political aspirations?
A: There are two schools of thought on this. One is that when you're a public figure, you're evaluated on your public performance. They feel that I should be evaluated on my public performance.

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".

Q: There's talk that there'll be a new (sex) DVD on you should you decide to contest.
A: Every time I criticise the leadership, every time I talk about contesting, this threat of a new DVD comes up.

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?
A
: No.


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?
A: We need an MCA leader who has the support of the members, who is aware of what's happening to the party and the Chinese community.

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?
A: In the last three or four years, it got worse. They feel that the leadership is weak, unable to articulate the frustrations of the community and unable to stand up for the rights of the community.

There was also a significant shift from MCA being a political party to as if it was an NGO, doing more social work.


Q: Like Cupid Club and life-long learning?
A: Cupid Club, crisis-relief squad, tuition centre ... rather than doing political work. That's the truth. My president hates me for telling the truth. I call a spade a spade and I dare to debate on it.

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?
A: The new president must be able to articulate the frustrations of the Chinese community, its needs and the three core issues that I've listed --- politics, economics and education.

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?
A: It's with the leadership. If the leadership tries to ignore a problem by saying that it is sensitive...

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?
A: We have to convince Umno that if we are unable to articulate and solve Chinese problems, please do not expect us to deliver the Chinese votes to BN come the 13th general election.

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?
A: I've always held the view that if Malay political power is threatened, you'll see Umno and Pas working together. I've said that many times.

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?
A: The MCA membership list is always a contentious issue.


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

Pressure to BN and PR Component Parties

To administer a multi-racial country like Malaysia with such opposing forces and interests requires compromise and cooperation between the different interest groups, races and religion. The Barisan Nasional (BN) has become and I believe shall always be a model for progressive power-sharing by which Malaysia will always be governed. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Pakatan Rakyat alliance is surely modeled on BN. While Umno, as well as MCA and MIC has its weaknesses, it is still by and large a party of moderates which is capable of evolving and changing, as are its coalition partners.

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.

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

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.