---->Positive outlook: Dr Chua inspecting a drainage project in Sungai Buloh in this file picture. The MCA president is seeing a return of interest and confidence in the party.
THE MCA must change, and change fast, or risk being irrelevant soon.
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the people were increasingly discerning, rejecting political rhetoric outright.
They want to see actions and results from MCA or Barisan Nasional.
And anything less than intelligent discussion is deemed undermining their intelligence.
In the second part of an interview in conjunction with his 100th day as MCA president on Monday, Dr Chua spoke on how the second largest Barisan component party is shaping up to cope with the expectations of more educated and increasingly critical and demanding Malaysians.
Q: Datuk Seri, can MCA or Barisan Nasional convince the people that you all are indeed listening to them and changing to meet their expectations?
A: There is room for improvement. Barisan is slow in response to the rising expectations of the rakyat. But to say no changes in Barisan under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is not fair.
I would say the Barisan has taken small steps, but what the rakyat want is a giant step.
On the part of MCA, we are moving towards a result-oriented approach.
For instance, MCA no longer just submits a memorandum on the Malaysia Plan to the Government like before.
After 61 years (MCA was set up in 1949) and for the first time, we had a dialogue on the 10th Malaysia Plan with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to let the top two leaders understand issues concerning the Chinese community, especially in areas like education and the economy.
And I must thank both leaders for being very receptive to our requests.
Q: How would you like the people to assess MCA?
A: We (MCA) are still relevant and have a role to play. The Chinese must accept the political reality in a multi-ethnic society; the need to co-exist with other races. We want Barisan to be inclusive so that we can achieve 1Malaysia.
Q: How do you look at Barisan?
A: Barisan has been in existence for a long time. In terms of power sharing, there is room for improvement to reflect the changing political scenario.
We are facing more educated, more critical Malaysians, people with rising expectations of the Government.
Q: The cyber-war among politicians to win the hearts and minds of the people is taking centre stage. Those in the MCA are seen lagging behind the Opposition, not so much that they do not know how to use the new media, but more of the content. Do you agree?
A: We don’t know how to attack the Opposition using the new media. In fact, some MCA leaders are still behaving as if they are the ruling party.
MCA is in fact the Opposition in Pakatan-ruled states, and they must behave like the Opposition. So, we want our members to use the new media to expose the Opposition – their weaknesses, failure to fulfil their pledges to the rakyat in the last general election, their double standards, their conflicting statements, etc. We must let the people see that the Opposition are not that perfect as they made themselves to be.
On the other hand, we must not only be vocal but must also know what we are doing and dare to do it.
Take the recent issue on the proposed legalisation of sports betting.
I must say that gambling is not a Chinese culture, though it is all right to say the Chinese community likes betting.
I don’t know any form of gambling. I don’t even know mahjong.
And I must also say that illegal betting will continue even though such betting is legalised.
You do not need to be a super police to spot illegal betting, which is being done openly.
Let us not behave like an ostrich (escape reality by hiding its head in the sand).
The Opposition, who is so against the legalisation of sports betting, should close down all the gaming centres in states under the Pakatan rule to walk the talk.
Q: Within MCA, how is the healing process since the March 28 election?
A: Things are looking up. We have achieved a certain degree of stability and unity within the party. A lot of the divisions have started to work.
Members are aware of the stark reality that if we cannot unite, we will fast become irrelevant.
People are tired of the in-fighting which took up almost one-and-a-half years. I opened more than 20 divisions’ annual general meetings recently and the attendance was very good.
It shows the return of interest and confidence in the party.
At the national level, central committee and presidential council meetings are conducted in the most cordial manner. We also keep our meetings to about three hours each round and optimise the usage of time.
With the house back in order, we can focus our attention and time on national issues.
THE STAR (Wednesday July 7, 2010)