PETALING JAYA: MCA today decided that it will remain in Barisan Nasional. The decision comes a little over two weeks since the party declared it was prepared to leave the former governing coalition over “racial statements” by an Umno leader.
In a statement this evening, party president Wee Ka Siong said MCA would remain with BN “to safeguard multiracial cooperation”.
BN acting chairman Mohamad Hasan praised MCA’s decision. He said it was time to consolidate rather than split up. It was in MCA’s best interest to remain and help maintain a multiracial BN.
“This is what the country needs. We cannot just have one dominant race without power sharing. This country was built on understanding and cooperation between the races,” he told FMT.
Wee said the cooperation between PAS and Umno could not be avoided, and although both MCA and MIC were politically at odds with PAS, it remained vital for the three BN components to retain the consensus which had long been established.
He said MCA faced two choices: to leave BN and thus allow communal politics to be prolonged, or remain within the coalition and strengthen multiracial cooperation.
The decision to stay was made to ensure that Malaysian politics would not be premised upon matters being between Malays and non-Malaysia.
“We cannot put aside diversity when it comes to politics,” Wee said.
On March 4, MCA and MIC had called for an urgent meeting of the coalition’s top leadership to decide on BN’s future, saying MCA leaders no longer believed BN was committed to multiracialism.
Wee and MIC president SA Vigneswaran, in a joint statement, expressed regret with the silence of Umno leaders over what they said were “racial remarks” by Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz.
Nazri reportedly questioned the appointment of non-Muslims to top posts such as the attorney-general, chief justice and finance minister.
At a meeting held a few days later, Mohamad, who is Umno’s acting president, said Umno and MIC had disagreed with the dissolution.
Partisan politics not healthy, says MIC
MIC president SA Vigneswaran told FMT it was wise of MCA to remain with BN.
“This country needs a unity coalition. Without MCA or MIC, you’re going to give them no choice but to go specifically on partisan politics, which is not going to be healthy,
“The best thing to do at the moment, is not to allow such things to happen, by working together within the coalition to do what is good for the country,” he said.
The absence of MCA or MIC in Barisan Nasional would push Malay-based parties to a corner. “Then, it will be of no use to blame them for using sentiments of race and religion to garner votes,” he added.
He said it was essential that the two component parties play their roles to maintain a “multiracial essence” within the working relationship between the three parties.