BANGI: MCA’s Balakong by-election candidate Tan Chee Teong has urged voters to be fair to the party, saying it has contributed to nation-building since before Malaysia achieved its independence.
Speaking to FMT, the 40-year-old recalled how the party was formed before independence and the role it had played in freeing the country from colonisation.
“Please be fair to MCA,” he said. “Our past members helped build this country in the early days.”
Tan was responding to critics who say MCA no longer deserves the people’s support.
“Was Umno bad then? I don’t think so. Was MIC bad then? They took care of their people. The government under Barisan Nasional (BN) did a lot of good things.
“What changed? When was it that something happened? When Dr Mahathir Mohamad came to power as prime minister (in 1981), he brought along cronyism.
“That, I feel, was when bad things started to happen,” he said in an interview at the MCA Balakong by-election operations room.
Tan said that was when politicians began to focus on being politicians and neglected to serve the people and country.
“Was Malaysia already very rich in 1957? No. It was our ancestors, our then-party members, who forked out their own money and sacrificed their lives to achieve independence for the country.
“You can’t say that MCA has done nothing at all,” he said.
Tan also noted that both BN and Pakatan Harapan (PH) had become hungry for power.
“Both are the same today. But what do you get by having so much power if you are going to ignore the plight of the people?” he asked.
He said there was no use today for assemblymen who were well versed on how a government functioned but did not know how to “get their hands dirty working for the people”.
“DAP’s Wong Siew Ki said she knows how the government works. But I think even a clerk could learn that. Is she planning to be Balakong’s clerk?
“They look down on me for being only an SPM certificate holder, saying that I cannot solve problems. What makes a degree holder better at solving problems if he or she only has theoretical knowledge?”
He added that PH lawmakers did not understand Balakong well enough and had not been making an effort to study the constituency to offer permanent solutions to problems.
More than 10 years had passed, but Balakong had yet to experience the changes promised earlier by the then-Pakatan Rakyat, he claimed.
The Pakatan Rakyat state government had promised to beautify certain areas, including through the creation of a pond in the Sungai Chua area, to enable locals to carry out recreational activities, he said.
“To beautify that area, it isn’t that hard. They have been in power for 10 years, governing Selangor. Ten years have passed. Don’t you think it’s time for them to do something already?” he asked.
He said PH had only been looking at the surface and had yet to fully understand the problems in the constituency.
“You cannot keep patching a road and not address the root of the problem. The problem will resurface and become worse.
“That is why my manifesto prioritises solving local problems faced by residents, because by solving these smaller problems it will not lead to big problems,” he said.
The Balakong seat fell vacant after its assemblyman Eddie Ng died in an accident last month.
In the 14th general election, Ng obtained 41,768 votes while MCA’s Lim Chee Wah received 5,874 votes and PAS’ Mohamad Ibrahim Ghazali got 6,230 votes.