By Wong Choon Mei
Those who were surprised by the news that the MCA may lose some 30% of its members to the Pakatan Rakyat by the time the 13th general election rolls along are due for more shocks.
Firstly, this number is likely to be much larger. And secondly, did you know that the MCA – despite its longstanding boast of having at least a million members – actually only has about 40,000-odd real and authentic supporters!
“This is something I can say with confidence given my knowledge of the party. MCA is the mother of the phantom voters illusion, even Umno has to learn from it how to falsify and pad up membership rolls,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng, a former MCA stalwart, told Malaysia Chronicle.
“But at the end of the day, however much they try to fudge it, instead of the 1.3 million members it claims to have, MCA actually has only about 40,000 real members. These are the ones who bother to turn up at meetings and take part in party activities or volunteer to work in the election machinery. This the sad fact.”
The exodus is real, it is huge
In the face of such low support, it is no wonder that MCA’s scandal-plagued president Chua Soi Lek has been keeping a low profile over news reports of a crossover of hundreds of members into the opposition especially in Penang and his own home-state of Johor.
So far, Soi Lek has tried to delect attention on a childish spat with the DAP, claiming that his party could unseat any DAP candidate in Bagan, the constituency currently held by Lim Guan Eng, the Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general.
Again, the hapless Soi Lek ended up with pie on his face when Guan Eng turned the tables on him. “Will Chua Soi Lek dare to announce which seat he is contesting, then let me go to that constitutency and repeat Liow’s remarks that we are confident of defeating Chua then see how Chua will respond?” said Guan Eng.
According to Jui Meng, the MCA exodus was real and 30% is a modest estimate. Many MCA members have already signed with the opposition parties although they have sent in their resignations to Soi Lek just yet.
“It is much higher than 30%. 30% is just scratching the surface. For political reasons and we have to be realistic about this, many MCA ordinary members as well as leaders won’t officially come over yet. They will do so at a more opportune time, a time that is most advantageous to themselves and Pakatan and disadvantageous of MCA and BN,” said Jui Meng.
“If they do so now, Soi Lek and his henchmen will go after them and create all sorts of lies and trouble. So, why be a magnet for unnecessary problems? But I can tell you, the exodus is real, it is huge and the bulk of it will take place soon after GE-13,” said Jui Meng.
Lack of a principle stand
A large part of the MCA’s problems are tied to Soi Lek’s leadership, although it is true the MCA was already on a steep decline even before he threw his hat into the ring for the MCA presidency. In the 2008 general election, the MCA had won only 15 parliamentary and 32 state seats, less than half of seats it had secured in 2004.
In GE-13, which must be held by April 2013, MCA is expected to be wiped out in a fate similar to the SUPP during the 2011 Sarawak state elections. For this, Soi Lek cannot pass the buck. He has failed to unite and to revitalize the MCA. Neither has he been able to create confidence in the Chinese-based party.
Not only is this due to his personal sex scandal, which hangs over him like a Sword of Damocles, it is also due to the political strategy he adopted since ousting Ong Tee Keat as party president. Soi Lek’s greed for power and push to install his own loyalists at top party posts has also created deep and bitter fissures within the party.
“One of the most obvious faults is that Soi Lek has not adopted a principled stand on all issues. His inconsistency here shows his political insincerity. For example, you don’t hear him talking about corruption. Not a single sound has come from him and the MCA when the whole country is in an uproar over the RM250 million NFC debacle. When Anwar Ibrahim was so clearly persecuted on sodomy charges, there was no reaction from MCA. Same thing when Anwar was acquitted and the rest of the world, not just Malaysians, celebrated,” said Jui Meng.
“But Soi Lek and MCA, like Umno, kept quet. So what conclusion can we draw except that the MCA is not its own master. This was the complaint of the past and this remains its fault till today. All Soi Lek can do is go after PAS and hudud law. Why hasn’t this worked? Again, if Soi Lek analysed it objectively, he would realize that to Malaysians, PAS is making real efforts to modernize and leave behind extremism. Even the Malaysian Chinese think that PAS has put in more effort to change than the MCA.”
Drop the politics of lies and racism
Jui Meng does not expect MCA to retain more than a handful of the 47 seats it now commands in total. He points to the SUPP and the recent Taiwan election as examples.
Indeed, the MCA and its coalition boss Umno are much like Taiwan’s Kuomintang party, which ruled the island for decades before losing power due to various reasons including endemic corruption. In 2004, the presidency was won by the DPP, then led by Chen Shu-bian. In 2008, after an internal cleansing, the KMT led by the reformist leader Ma Ying-jeou wrested back the presidency for KMT. Just days ago, Ma was re-elected.
“The cable TV covered the Taiwan elections very well. Those who watched can straightaway see for themselves that Taiwan has matured into a real democracy. And yet, here we are still stuck in the politics of lies and manipulation. The Malaysian political scene is still like a script penned by the BN. They want to call all the shots, and this has resulted in Malaysians calling their own country Bolehland (or make-believe land). It is too trite and unreal, Malaysia has become the Zimbabwe of Southeast Asia. Indonesia is streets ahead of us and even Myanmar is progressing. I am sure Malaysians of all races will know how to vote come GE-13,” said Jui Meng. – Malaysia Chronicle