PETALING JAYA: MCA is ready to resume its key role within Barisan Nasional (BN) as co-guardian of the Federal Constitution to ensure that Malaysia remains a thriving, multiracial and moderate society.
Its former president Liow Tiong Lai said the party was duty-bound to preserve this tried and trusted BN experience for the benefit of the younger generation.
Liow, who is seeking to reclaim the Bentong parliamentary seat he held continuously for almost two decades between 1999 and 2018, said MCA was the only party which could offer the Chinese community this unique experience.
“This is why we are urging Chinese Malaysians to return to the party to give MCA and yourselves a strong voice in Parliament, the government and in the Cabinet,” said Liow.
In an exclusive interview with FMT, Liow, 61, said MCA was the best vehicle for the Chinese community to express themselves on matters concerning the nation’s governance.
“We know both Umno and MIC very well, having been together for many decades. We understand each other perfectly.
“That has been key to Malaysia’s success over the last 60 years,” he said.
PH lacks experience and common identity
In contrast, Liow, who served as deputy minister for youth and sports (2006-2008), health minister (2008-2013) and transport minister (2014-2018), said that, when compared to BN, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition lacked experience and a common identity.
“PH does not have sufficient institutional experience to govern the country.
“On top of that, the parties in PH are motivated purely by self-interest. They fight like cats and dogs among themselves.
“That is what caused the downfall of the PH government after only 22 months,” he said.
Change can only come from within BN
Liow acknowledged that weaknesses had surfaced within the BN coalition in recent years.
“Change is needed, but we must be in BN to change BN. We can do nothing from the outside.
“Only a strong MCA can make an impact within BN and in government. That is why I am calling on MCA members, the Chinese community and Malaysians of all races to cast your vote in our favour this time,” said Liow.
A ‘familiar’ alternative
Liow, who unexpectedly lost his seat to Wong Tack by a slim 3.69% of the voting share, is confident he can avenge his 2018 loss despite being placed in a five-cornered fight with Wong (ex-DAP and now independent candidate), former state assemblyman Young Syefura Othman (DAP), Perikatan Nasional’s Roslan Hassan and independent Achik Khalil.
Liow believes that the internal conflict which saw Wong dropped in favour of Syefura as DAP’s candidate, was reflective of the discord within the party.
“Quite clearly, the conflict is because their services to the people of Bentong were sub-standard. In fact, many of the projects in Bentong were cancelled.
“I am here to offer Bentong an alternative which they are already very familiar with,” he said.
Liow noted that “having promised the sky”, PH failed to deliver during their short stint in government.
“BN and MCA’s record over many years has been far better,” he said.
Liow also disputed Syefura’s claim that he had not shown up in the constituency over the last few years.
“That is not true. I have constantly kept in touch with the people of Bentong. I was here at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, during the floods and also the fire in Karak,” he said.
The former party president also played down the fact that he was no longer part of MCA’s top leadership.
“That has never crossed my mind. My priority is to serve the people of Bentong to the best of my ability,” he said.