Analyst: For meaningful reform, MCA must drop focus on race

The MCA is contesting the Balakong by-election under its own flag.

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA must start to realise that race-based politics is not the way to go anymore and reforms should include moving away from a focus on race, political analyst Lim Hong Siang said today.

But by contesting the Balakong by-election under its own flag, the MCA was showing that it was not willing to change, he added.

“It is unfortunate that parties attached to Barisan Nasional (BN) only have race as their strength, but that is also how they have shaped their party in the past.

“There is no way that they can compete with Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties in terms of fighting for policies,” he said.

Lim said if the BN had taken heed of the 2013 general election results, things might have been different. He said BN component parties should have changed when they found that voters were not happy with race-based parties in 2013.

“As it is, we are 20 years behind time in terms of political party transformation and BN has not been able to move forward. They must start now, otherwise they will never be able to catch up with PH,” he said.

Commenting on observers saying that MCA needed to be led by new faces, Lim said whether it was outgoing deputy president Wee Ka Siong or former vice-president Gan Peng Sieu, their ideas for reform would not differ much.

“The party’s priority now is to bring new ideas that do not only focus on the Chinese community, but apply to all races. The way to go for all political parties in Malaysia now is to do away with the racial focus,” he said.

He added that when MCA decided to use its own logo to contest in the Balakong by-election, it was isolating itself and going in the opposite direction to the trend of dropping race-based politics.

“While they are testing the waters on whether they can survive on their own, should they one day need to leave BN, they are also sending out a message that they are isolating themselves from Malaysians.

“They are indirectly further promoting race-based politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, MCA Balakong by-election candidate Tan Chee Teong dismissed notions that he was aligned with former president Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Met after a press conference at the Balakong MCA operations centre, Tan said he did receive “good luck” messages from Chua but that did not mean that Chua was endorsing him.

It was reported that the Balakong by-election would help determine the direction the party would take, now that it was in the opposition. It was also reported that there was some support for Chua to return as party president.

Back to basics for MCA, says party veteran