BANGI: MCA veteran Yap Pian Hon has urged the new party leadership to focus on solving MCA’s internal problems instead of only criticising Pakatan Harapan for failing to fulfil parts of its election manifesto.
Yap, who was MCA vice-president from 1990 to 1999, said the party leaders should bear in mind that they too needed to fulfil the promises made before the party election to revive and restructure MCA following its dismal outing in the May 9 polls.
“Find out why the party went down the drain, how it deteriorated so badly since its formation in 1949,” he said in an interview with FMT at his office in Seri Kembangan.
MCA’s fortunes took a turn for the worse during the 2013 general election in which the party won only seven parliamentary seats and 11 state seats.
Its decline continued in the 14th general election this year, which saw it winning just one parliamentary seat out of 39 and two state seats out of 129.
Since 2013, Yap said, there had been no study done to discover the root of the party’s problems.
“They have to quickly conduct a study to understand the weak points and cure these problems. Like it or not, you have to fulfil the promises made before the party election. The divisional leaders voted for you.”
Delegates from 188 divisions nationwide cast their votes last Sunday to decide on a new leadership line-up.
Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong, MCA’s sole representative in Parliament, was elected as president while Mah Hang Soon was chosen as his deputy.
Yap said the low turnout of youth delegates – 38.64% – was cause for concern.
“The party election is held once every three years. This is your chance to decide who you want to lead the party and you choose not to turn up?
“I was shocked when I heard about this. It is very surprising that delegates can be absent from voting for their own party leadership.”
During his time as chairman of MCA Youth, he said, 95% of members would turn up just for regular meetings.
He said the low voter turnout could also be due to the new voting system, as members were required to cast their votes at their respective divisions instead of at the MCA headquarters at Jalan Ampang.
“This is the first time this method was used for a party election. It could have caused confusion for some, while others might not have been able to make it to cast their votes.”
On allegations of money politics in the party election, Yap said the leaders must look into the claims to ascertain if divisions had indeed received money as bribes.
“I received a call from Perak indicating that there were cases there. I was also informed that this happened among divisions nationwide,” he said, declining to reveal further details.
He was responding to reports in which former party president Dr Chua Soi Lek claimed the election was influenced by money politics nationwide.
The former Labis MP was quoted by Sin Chew Daily and China Press as saying he knew which divisions had had a change of heart after receiving money.
Acknowledging the need for new blood in the leadership line-up, Yap cautioned however that experienced and veteran leaders were still needed to support the fresh faces.
“This is the only way the party has managed to last until today,” he added.