TTF: We at the The Third Force urge the president of UMNO, Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, to convene a supreme council meeting to discuss the MCA’s future in Barisan Nasional.
For UMNO to cling on to the MCA for nostalgic reasons is counter productive and somewhat suicidal, particularly if those reasons do not jive with the voters’ aspirations.
UMNO must remember that the 15th general election (GE15) is going to be all about the youth assuming that the government does reduce the voting age to 18.
Under the circumstances, those aged 18 – 40 would account for 50% of the voter population, with almost 70% of that segment being people of Islamic faith.
It follows, that in order to make a comeback, UMNO’s target audience should be the Muslim youth, a segment that ended up voting against the Barisan Nasional during the 14th general election (GE14).
The DAP led this segment to believe that UMNO was conservative and extremist contrary to the demands of a progressive and dynamic Muslim society.
The MCA helped fuel that perception.
Rather than defend UMNO, its leaders played good-cop-bad-cop with Lim Kit Siang on Islamic related issues and attacked UMNO for attempting to broaden the jurisdiction of Syariah Courts.
The move was supposed to help the MCA lure Chinese voters.
However, the plan backfired when the Chinese ended up rejecting the party on grounds that its leaders chose to remain in Barisan Nasional despite UMNO’s determination to empower the Islamic bench.
Even the Muslim youth were put off by all this.
Those urbanised were inclined to think that UMNO was truly as conservative and out of sync with the demands of a progressive society as the DAP had painted it out to be.
They actually believed that UMNO used Islam as a weapon to turn Malays against the DAP, when in fact, it was the DAP that used the religion to confuse even the Muslims.
The general perception among them today is that Pakatan needs to rid the country of institutions that carry UMNO’s brand of Islam if we hope to move forward as a progressive and dynamic society.
That explains the attacks on Islamic themed institutions and demands that Tahfiz schools all across the nation be shut down.
If UMNO does not shake itself off nostalgia and sever ties with the MCA, the party will forever be bedevilled by trust deficits as the MCA continues to ‘work’ with the DAP to fuel perception that UMNO is conservative.
As it is, the MCA is already showing its true colours by using its own logo during the upcoming Balakong by-election (see news item below).
Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai is capitalising on the fact that Malaysia is currently being led by a coalition that’s non-Muslim in terms of majority representation.
He is sending a message to voters that “the MCA no longer regards Barisan to be UMNO-led and has distanced itself Islamic conservatism.”
Thus, the longer UMNO chooses to work with the MCA, the lesser the chance it will make a comeback as even the Muslim youth have begun to believe that the days of Barisan Nasional were “the dark ages of Malaysian governance.”
KUALA LUMPUR: MCA said it has decided to use its own party emblem to contest the Balakong by-election, but did not plan to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the decision was made by the central committee, who also consulted rank-and-file members on the matter.
“We have received overwhelming support from the grassroots to use the MCA emblem for the by-election,” he told reporters following the committee’s meeting at Wisma MCA.
Liow said candidates had already been shortlisted and would be announced as soon as possible, and that committee member Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has been elected as the by-election’s campaign chairman.
However, he said MCA would not leave BN as it was not possible.
“How can MCA leave BN, since it is a founding member alongside Umno and MIC?” Liow said.
Rather, he said MCA and the Opposition coalition members are currently engaged in looking inwardly for the time being, so as to plan for and eventually implement internal reforms.
“One of the reasons why we are using our own emblem in the by-election is due to the response from the public.
“It is high time we open up to working with all parties that are not a part of PH, instead of limiting it to a few,” Liow said.
He expressed his confidence that given the setbacks encountered in the 14th general election, the eventual reforms will proceed on a strong footing.
“We have to readjust our own political role, and discard whatever historical baggage we have,
“Therefore, we call upon the residents of Balakong as well as other Opposition parties and members to support us in winning the by-election,” Liow said.
In so doing, he hoped MCA would be able to serve not only its constituents, but also as a check-and-balance for the PH government.
“This way, the Opposition coalition may someday become again a force to be reckoned with,” Liow said.
Source: The Malay Mail Online