An active Voice of Change within the Barisan Nasional (Flashback Part 3)
I BELIEVE it is important for MCA to find its voice when it comes to representing the people’s aspirations.
Courage to Voice our Convictions
Though I am committed to effective cooperation within the BN, it is important that our leaders HAVE THE COURAGE TO ACTIVELY VOICE THE CONCERNS OF THE RAKYAT we represent in Parliament even if it is critical of the government.
We should be mature enough to be able to disagree with the government policy while still working within the BN framework.
Formulating a Barisan Nasional Agenda
MCA must also START PLAYING A PROACTIVE ROLE WITHIN THE BN coalition to further promote racial unity and the inclusion of every community in Malaysia, regardless of race or religion in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
We must foster vibrant dialogue between the coalition parties in order to FORMULATE A CLEAR AND CONSISTENT AGENDA that explains our vision for the nation and our mission to create one unified Malaysian race.
REALISE VISION 2020
As President of a reformed, rejuvenated Party that has its pulse on the rakyat, we must then move beyond Party building into Nation building. The MCA has long been an integral part of Malaysia’s development, starting before Independence.
We are the Party that, under adversity, championed the Malaysian Chinese cause and helped create the multicultural, multiracial Malaysia of today.
We are the Party that, extending our hand to other races in this land, formed a common front, a common goal that gave us independence.
We are the Party, at this critical juncture in Malaysia’s history, which now needs to fight to realise Vision 2020 for all Malaysians; a vision that seeks to unite all the rakyat into a ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ and create a confident united nation infused with strong moral and ethical values living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant.
A community that is socially equitable and progressive with an economy that is resilient, robust and competitive.
In the last election, the Opposition stood on a platform of multiracialism and national renewal, and captured the hearts and minds of the rakyat.
Through our leaders’ complacency, we have surrendered this moral high ground to others. We forgot that the landslide victory the BN won in 2004 was based on the promises of change and anti-corruption we promised the rakyat.
To that effect, if I have the privilege to lead the Party, I will not be silent and fight for the following causes to build a new Malaysia for our children.
Returning to the Federal Constitution – Defending the Rights of the Rakyat
The time has now come 51 years after Merdeka for government to review and rebase our policies on the FOUNDATIONAL RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE promised by the Federal Constitution of 1957.
I propose, if elected, to ESTABLISH A FEDERAL CONSTITUTION ADVISORY COMMITTEE MADE up of ex-judges, senior lawyers and others with expertise in constitutional law to advice the Party of the rights of ALL Malaysians and to REVIEW NATIONAL POLICIES in the light of these rights.
It shall also be tasked to write an updated MANDARIN TRANSLATION of the CONSTITUTION so that the Malaysian Chinese will know of their inalienable rights as Malaysian citizens.
Bringing closure to the NEP
Malaysia must progress from race-centric policies to legislation that brings development to all regardless of religion or race. One symbol of the race-centric past is the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Article 8 (i) of the Federal Constitution provides that ALL PERSONS ARE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW AND ENTITLED TO THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW.
Article 8 (ii) also provides that there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.
Following the 13th May 1969 riots, the leaders of MCA, MIC and Gerakan agreed voluntarily to the TEMPORARY suspension of this right for 20 years.
The NEP proposed in 1971 was two-pronged, the first was to eradicate poverty and the second was to remove the identification of economic function along racial lines.
The second prong was touted as the right medicine to cure the ills of a society that was economically imbalanced between racial communities.
We must understand that the original goal of the NEP was to ultimately foster a unified national identity.
Now, 38 years have passed since the NEP was introduced and today the Malay middle-class is large and securely established.
The United Nations Development Programme some years ago commended the Malays as one of the most successful in the world in creating a huge middle-class. We are proud to be their fellow citizens.
MCA Rises to the Challenge in 1988
When Tun Ling Liong Sik became President in 1986, he established INSAP, a powerful think tank for the MCA.
It came up with a detailed report on the MISIMPLEMENTATION of the NEP that caused WIDESPREAD GRIEVANCE against the Government and therefore the MCA, explaining the strong Chinese support for the Opposition in almost every General Election in the 1970s and 1980s.
Based on INSAP’s report, I made a speech in Parliament in October 1988 on behalf of the MCA and the Malaysian Chinese Community detailing the deviation in implementation of the NEP in the fields of poverty eradication, economy and education for 2 (two) hours where I was challenged by many Umno and Opposition MPs.
As a consequence to that speech, the then Prime Minister in his wisdom established the first National Economic Consultative Council (NECC-1) comprising 150 members of which half were representatives of the Bumiputra community and the other half representatives from the non-Bumiputera communities, fulfilling the BN’s 1986 General Election pledge to consult at all levels of society in formulating the post-1990 national policy.
NEXT: The national policies and the revival of the NEP (Flashback Part 4)