MCA, Mahathirism and the rise of the Ali Baba scrooge

“That explains why Kit Siang worked very hard with Mohamad Sabu to split PAS from within and conspired with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – who, in turn, worked with Tengku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor – to sabotage Barisan Nasional’s media edifice in 2014. Some MCA leaders knew what was going on from day one but were told by Kong choy and his men to mind their own business”


Patriotism in Malaysia has meant different things to different people at different times. In the mid-fifties and throughout the sixties, it was often invoked by UMNO leaders to make the case for military sacrifice and anti-Communism. In the seventies, it was parred by Tun Abdul Razak with the concept of the Chinese and Malays assimilating into a “cross-cultural megastructure” (or Razak megastructure) free from stereotype constraints and prejudice.

But whichever the era, patriotism had always something to do with the people’s innate capacity to strive for unity and harmony. And it was kept that way right until Dr. Mahathir Mohamad took over the reins of government in 1981. Thereon, the country’s fourth Prime Minister dismantled the yet-to-be-completed “Razak megastructure” and replaced it with his own. He decided that unity could not be allowed to flow from inward convictions, as a united Malaysian race would only present a problem to his dictatorship.

Part of the plan was to infuse fundamentalist attitudes among UMNO leaders and pamper them with Government sponsored projects. As these leaders grew richer, they developed supremacist attitudes and regarded themselves authoritarian elites. Money was never enough for them, though it became the currency through which they solicited bribes from one another to get their hands on government projects.

Once done corrupting UMNO, Mahathir realised that he needed to prevent the many rival camps that mushroomed from tearing the party apart at the seams. To keep them guarded, he infused camp leaders with ‘nationalist’ attitudes by cautioning them against a ‘Chinese threat’. The Mahathirists chipped in by impressing upon these leaders that the nation’s purse strings were in the hands of the Chinese through banks that were largely clan-controlled.

And that is how Mahathir ‘united’ UMNO. He created a problem by turning party leaders against themselves before presenting ‘the Chinese threat’ as a ‘solution’ to keep them united. Once he was done doing that, he undertook to ‘resolve’ the ‘Chinese threat’ by presenting a new ‘problem’ to the Chinese. He told MCA leaders that Malaysia needed defending from foreign elements that were determined to impose jurisdiction over the Malaysian government.


Then, as a ‘solution’, he convinced these leaders that the Mahathirists possessed the means to invigorate the economy without jeopardising the Chinese community’s standing as the “nation’s socioeconomic masters.” The MCA was told that whatever Mahathir did, he did it in the best interest of the Chinese. The former premier reasoned that Malay nationalism could only be pacified if the Malays were contented and believed they were in control.

And that is how Mahathir projected value onto his policies and devoted the MCA to his terms. He would impress upon rich tycoons – the likes of Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong – that the shadow of Mahathirism would protect their interests and prevent the flow of Chinese wealth into the hands of the Malays. Because of him, the MCA led the Chinese to believe that Mahathirism would guarantee them economic prosperity and political stability.

Thus, not only did Mahathir succeed in corrupting UMNO, he kept warring factions within the party superficially united against the Chinese before teaching both races to coexist. The former premier advanced a pre-existing business concept known as the “Ali Baba formula” and got the Mahathirists to front for business empires belonging to the Chinese. The formula kept each race contented and created the delusion of unity.

Yes, Mahathir spent 22 years destroying the very spirit of patriotism that the nation’s third Prime Minister tried so hard to instil. He replaced the “Razak megastructure” with Mahathirism and taught the Chinese the Jewish way of monopolising the economy. According to him, the only way the Chinese could ever prevent the Jews from manipulating the Malaysian economy was if “the Chinese worked together with UMNO to conduct business like the Jews.”

And that was precisely what he told Ling Liong Sik, who benefitted most from the Ali Baba scrooge. The former MCA president learnt the art of crony-capitalism and got party veterans to take control of Chinese associations. These associations were gradually corrupted and went on to channel a significant portion of Chinese wealth into UMNO’s war chest. As long as the money kept coming, Mahathir allowed MCA leaders to continue raping the economy through Ali Baba ventures that “kept the Malays lazy but happy.”

In short, patriotism to the MCA was reduced to “working with the Mahathirists to create the delusion that the Malays were in control.” By keeping the Malay’s under its heels, the party had no qualms supporting UMNO even when Mahathir legislated laws that broadened the powers of Islamic benches. But that only caused the Chinese to grow distant from the party. By the late nineties, Liong Sik was referred to by the community as a Mahathirist, and in some cases, “a betrayer of the race.”

But the former MCA president didn’t mind it one bit.

And neither did the Chinese associations, which, by the late nineties, were in full control of the MCA. Its leaders had long known that Malaysia post-Mahathir would graduate into an era where the Malays would overwhelm the Chinese in terms of numbers. They detested the “Razak megastructure,” as the idea of the Chinese assimilating with the Malays would only obliterate their standing in society as the “nation’s socioeconomic masters” towards GE15.

Thus, by 2006, it was decided that Mahathirism needed to prevail at all cost, that Malaysia under Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak would ultimately see the return of the “Razak megastructure.” In 2007, Mahathir sent Matthias Chang and Liong Sik to negotiate terms of association with Chan Kong Choy and Lim Ah Lek, who were then in direct control of several Chinese associations. In December that year, a decision was reached by Kong Choy and his men to sabotage Barisan Nasional during the 2008 general election.

Notwithstanding, several MCA youth leaders and life members from Penang, Perak and Kuala Lumpur undertook in covert operations with the DAP to “prevent the erosion of Chinese wealth into the hands of the Malays.” Their collective mission was to divide the Malays into as many warring factions as possible to keep them from dictating terms to the Chinese. Liong Sik assured them it was possible to destabilise UMNO considering that Mahathir had already corrupted the party back in the eighties and nineties.

In 2013, the MCA assisted the DAP in even larger ways to swing the Chinese pendulum towards the opposition for good. One person involved in the scheme is an MCA life member who I campaigned for in 2008. Right after the 13th general election, the veteran politician met me at Hotel Vistana in Penang and revealed that his team had discussed the possibility of MCA Penang exiting Barisan Nasional by 2015.

Nine months after the meeting, one of his aides confided in me the existence of a working relationship between another MCA leader and Tan Sri Tan Kok Peng to sabotage Barisan Nasional in 2013. The documentary evidence presented to me was enough to convince me that the MCA was working hard to see a return of Mahathirism. The fact is, Chinese associations controlling the party had undertaken in very elaborate pacts with Lim Kit Siang to split the Malays into as many splinter factions as humanly possible.

That explains why Kit Siang worked very hard with Mohamad Sabu to split PAS from within and conspired with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – who, in turn, worked with Tengku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor – to sabotage Barisan Nasional’s media edifice in 2014. Some MCA leaders knew what was going on from day one but were told by Kong choy and his men to mind their own business.

And yet, Najib thinks he has MCA firmly by his side.

The Prime Minister is dreaming.

To be continued…


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