Overcoming MCA’s Post-May 13th 1969 Syndrome (Flashback Part 2)
By Chua Jui Meng
AS MALAYSIA’s democracy matures so too must the ideology and principles of our Party. If our core values are no longer in line with our community then our policies will become irrelevant in their eyes.
MCA is increasingly seen as out of touch with the aspirations of the Malaysian Chinese community and the nation in general.
We are seen as being unable to influence key government policies and keeping silent on matters that are important to the community and the rakyat.
The MCA must set an agenda to rebuild a strong, democratic and transparent MCA that represents the aspirations and values of our people.
Overcoming MCA’s May 13 Syndrome
On March 8th of this year (2008) our Party was delivered a stinging rebuke by our community and nation. We now fight for our survival, our very existence.
We need a commitment to change, to transformation. Transformation of OUR MINDSET of a subordinate to Umno that prevents us from playing a more active role in formulating and deciding key policies that impact our community and our nation.
Transformation of OUR SPIRIT OF FEAR – that we will offend Umno and lose our positions and privileges if we speak out against policies that are obviously detrimental to the unity and development of our nation.
Transformation of OUR FOCUS, which due to our mentality and our spirit has been focused on social and welfare projects. Though these programmes are good, they should not be our Party leadership’s priority.
Our Party is a political party, first and foremost! We shall delegate it to the Divisions and Branches to continue to improve on our service to the people, to build up UTAR and our TAR Colleges, and to obtain scholarships for our nation’s youth.
Our leadership’s focus must be on major issues, on national policies. Enough of being heroes of small issues!
Promoting Transparency and Democracy
I believe that democracy thrives when we have a Party leadership that is accountable to the Party, however accountability can only be enforced through transparency.
We need to introduce RULES THAT WILL ENFORCE TRANSPARENCY, for example that it should be mandatory for the Huaren accounts to be published during the Party’s AGM.
Currently Huaren Holdings’ accounts are not transparent; members, leaders and Central Delegates do not know how much profit we make a year, how much expenditures are incurred and how the money has been spent.
Furthermore, now we need to provide financial assistance to our MCA comrades in Penang, Selangor, Perak and Kedah, who having lost their state and parliamentary seats are no longer entitled to MP or ADUN allocations for their constituencies.
We need to also help our party members in Sabah, who until today still do not have their own MCA state building.
Huaren Holdings belongs to MCA, and therefore to all MCA members. Therefore, we should ensure that A SIGNIFICANT PART OF ITS PROFITS IS DISTRIBUTED TO ALL THE DIVISIONS to fund our activities as we seek to reconnect with the people.
We will also need to LIMIT THE POWERS OF THE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE so that its powers can never be abused to silence legitimate dissent within the Party.
Our Party can no longer afford to ignore criticisms but must be brave enough to hear all views.
Where are our members?
MCA is increasingly becoming a hollow shell. Though we claim to have some 1.3 million members, however, during the General Election only a small fraction comes out to campaign on our behalf.
This is because most branches don’t know who or where their members are.
I ask every Division leadership, “How many MCA members can you call up to help the Division during the General Elections?”
If the answer is 200, I would say that you are doing very well. However, this means that we can only expect a maximum of some 40,000 members nationwide to come forward to help MCA and the BN candidates.
We need to undertake a nationwide campaign involving MCA Headquarters, State Liaison Committees, Divisions and Branches to locate all our members, and update and consolidate our membership database.
The Branch Leaders need to actively interact with these members to inform and explain to them the new vision and direction of the Party, so that they feel included and motivated to support MCA’s vision.
When we can locate and educate our members, we will then become a force to be reckoned with and this will ensure victory for our candidates in the next General Elections.
If we can identify and educate 400,000 embers, then MCA will become a powerful political force and at every General Election we will be able to call on average 2,000 members in every Parliamentary constituency to help BN’s candidates.
RETURN TO RELEVANCE
It is not enough that we reform the internal culture of our Party but we must also reach out and reconnect MCA with the community.
For MCA to be relevant, we must tune in to the heartbeat of our people.
If elected, I promise that in the first year of my Presidency I will CONDUCT A NATIONWIDE TOUR to hear the views of our community.
This will constitute a vital part of our exercise to realign our Party’s core values. The ideas and concerns compiled will be tabled at the next General Assembly.
Community Hall Meetings
I will also institute a practice for all our Divisions to HOLD ANNUAL COMMUNITY HALL MEETINGS with the leaders of their community.
Our goal will be to pick up on common threads of concern throughout the nation that can be discussed and debated openly at the General Assembly.
Masterplans for the Community
In line with my 2005 election manifesto, I also pledge to CREATE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND EDUCATION MASTERPLANS for the community, to be undertaken by INSAP – MCA’s think tank.
I will further empower INSAP by BRINGING IN THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST MINDS IN THE COMMUNITY to help in creating these Masterplans.
We must never forget that MCA is to the community as fish, but fish cannot live without water.
Therefore, I aim to create a political leadership that is in touch with the party, and a party that is in touch with the people!
NEXT: An active Voice of Change within the Barisan Nasional (Flashback Part 3)