A MIC leader says Dr Chua Soi Lek has presented the Chinese community with a difficult choice – vote us out, and lose representatives in the government.
According to MIC’s publicity and communication chief S Vell Paari, the statement was nothing short of a political masterstroke.
“Chua has got the Chinese thinking, they have been presented with the scenario that should they discard MCA in the next polls, they run the risk of losing representatives in the government.
“If Pakatan Rakyat seizes control of Putrajaya in the 13th general election, it will be a different story and the MCA president’s statement will become immaterial.
“But based on the current political climate, the tussles in Pakatan as well as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s dynamic leadership, it is unlikely that the opposition will form the federal government in the near future.
“And this is where Chua’s stand strikes a chord,” he said when asked to comment on the matter.
Vell Paari said this was the reason why unnerved DAP leaders had attacked Chua, because the opposition party, which vied for the same votes, stood to loose ground if MCA remained steadfast in its stand.
On the same note, the MIC leader stressed that the Chinese community’s socio-economic status was at a point where it could afford to turn its back on the conduit that linked it with the Barisan Nasional government.
“In my opinion, the MCA leadership must have weighed the plus and minus before coming out with such a statement,” he said.
In the aftermath of the Sarawak state election, Chua had urged the Chinese-based SUPP not to accept any positions in the state government because of its dismal performance.
When attacked by DAP, which accused him of turning the election results into a racial issue, the MCA president retaliated by asking if the opposition party felt guilty of robbing the Chinese community in Sarawak of representatives in the state government.
On why a battered MCA had not done the same following the 2008 general election, Chua had blamed his predecessor for the decision but stressed that the party would deliberate on whether to accept such positions if it was defeated in the next polls.
In Sarawak, DAP had won 12 of the 15 seats it had contested, mostly in Chinese dominated areas, which were once the traditional strongholds of SUPP.
According to BN insiders, Chua’s statement had ruffled the feathers of some in the ruling coalition, as it puts them in a spot.
Different scenario with Indians
Vell Paari, who said that while he agreed with Chua on a personal basis that a party routed by the electorate should opt out of government positions, however, added that in the context of MIC, that decision must be made by the president, G Palanivel.
He also stressed that MIC would “cross that brige when we get there, because for now, we are optimistic about out chances in the next general election”.
In 2008, MIC suffered its worst ever electoral setback which witnessed even its top two leaders, then president and Vell Paari’s father S Samy Vellu being vanquished in his Sungai Siput fortress, and then number two, Palanivel, being ousted in Hulu Selangor.
Last year, Palanivel was appointed a senator and made deputy minister. He succeeded Samy Vellu in December, with the latter being appointed a roving ambassador with ministerial status for South Asia.
Vell Paari also pointed out that the situation with the Indians was different compared to the Chinese with regard to the socio-economic condition of the community.
“A sizeable portion of the community is still in need of government aid, and pulling out representatives from the government, may have dire consequences on the poor,” he said.
“Prior to 2008, Indians felt the government was not doing enough for them, things went horribly wrong with a poor delivery system in place. MIC complained about this in the past but little changed, and we paid the price in the polls. But there is no point in re-opening old wounds, especially when things have changed.
“Under the stewardship of Najib, the situation has improved tremendously and you can see that the Indians’ faith in BN is returning,” he said.
In a related development, MIC secretary-general S Murugesan, when asked to comment on Chua’s statement, said it was the prerogative of the MCA president to make the stand.
“Chua has the right to say it in his capacity as MCA president, but as far as MIC is concerned, such a decision is up to the president and the central working committee,” he told FMT.
Yesterday, PPP president M Kayveas praised Chua for making a bold stand.
“He has put the ball in the court of the Chinese voters. If they want Chinese representation in the government and in BN, then they must give the support,” he said.