Posted: 09 Jun 2013 07:23 PM PDT
Stanley Koh, FMT
Is it at all possible to arrest the rot in MCA so that it can begin nursing itself back to health in order to regain its standing as a political organisation capable of representing the interests of Malaysian Chinese?
As things stand today, there is little reason to be optimistic.
Even as it licks the wounds from the worst electoral beating it has suffered in its 64-year history, MCA appears to be inviting embarrassing questions about the quality of its current leadership. Of course, pundits were already asking similar questions long before the recent general election, but developments after the polls have intensified doubts about the leadership's political maturity and its courage to institute reforms.
Commenting on deputy president Liow Tiong Lai's announcement last week that the party was preparing a blueprint for reforms, internal critics told FMT it could be an attempt to whitewash a reversal of the pledge to reject appointments at all levels of the BN government.
They said such a U-turn seemed more and more likely now, with its proponents arguing that the party must heed the public call for it to abandon such a politically unwise pledge.
Cognate to that pledge is the recent talk from some MCA figures that the party should "re-think" its role in BN and its relationship with its political master, Umno. But many observers, including party insiders, have dismissed this as another dishonest attempt to generate a public perception that MCA has its ears to the ground and is serious about addressing its weaknesses.
They say it takes more than mere talk to dispel the widespread belief that MCA will always be a parasite in BN. They point to other recent statements by party leaders which indicate that their supposed determination to address political realities are dimmed by their addiction to the double role of being Umno's whipping boy and BN's apologist.
Indeed, hundreds of grassroots members are openly accusing party boss Chua Soi Lek of endorsing BN as a refuge for the incompetent, the corrupt and the cowardly.
A group of party veterans have even pleaded for his immediate resignation.
But the pessimism among some insiders is so deep that they do not see MCA finding a way out of its dark tunnel even with a change of leadership. They say the current leaders are too naive or ignorant to handle challenges posed by the new generation of politically conscious Malaysians.
The internal elections are expected to begin with branch-level polls in the middle of next month.
Word is spreading that the election will be a fight between factions aligned to Dr Chua, Ong Ka Ting and Ong Tee Keat. However, some pundits, noting the fluidity of the current scenario, do not rule out an eventual alignment of two of the factions, resulting in a straight fight for the presidency.
Insiders have told FMT that deputy president Liow recently broke ranks with Dr Chua following the failure of a deal to inject cash and other assets from Matang Holdings into the publicly listed Scope Industries. Many believe Dr Chua was behind the push for the reverse takeover.
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