"Money politics is creeping into the party" - MCA becoming irrelevent

Press Statement
by Ashvin Raj

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAPSY refers to the NST report on 3rd March 2003, which quoted MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Ling as saying that money politics is creeping into the party to the tune of millions of ringgit, and if left unchecked, would lead the party to "doom, chaos and destruction."

Such an honest statement by the MCA president truly reveals MCA as fast becoming irrelevant, as indeed the situation has worsened and has caused the Chinese community to feel betrayed, as they have been taken for a ride all these years by the many empty promises made by the MCA in past general elections.

It was quoted that the split of MCA between two teams has caused some leaders to be obsessed with image building that they had neglected their work. A good example would be Dr Chua Jui Meng who has being neglecting his work as a Health Minister by showing himself as being incompetent in handling the worst dengue outbreak in Malaysia.

DAPSY also reads with a certain amount of cynicism, MCA Secretary-General Datuk Ting Chew Peh's call for the party to toe the line. The memory of the two state assembly representatives in Penang who abstained from voting against the DAP motion to defer the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) is still fresh in the mind. PORR was not a serious 'life and death' issue, and they were merely expressing the sentiments of their constituents but yet they were punished severely for speaking up for the people.

What about recently when the Labour MPs voted with their conscience and represented the feelings of the people when they went against Tony Blair in Parliament on the Iraq issue, which is a life and death issue? Are these 121 British Labour MPs foolish as deserving suspension or should they be applauded for their actions? The British MPs have showed the world what parliamentary democracy really means. The majority of them, whilst fiercely loyal to their party, are not beholden to any groups and therefore are more likely to speak their minds.

In more mature democracies, backbenchers are allowed to vote against their own party in Parliament and many in fact do so even at the expense of incurring the wrath of the party whip and leadership. They have the bravery to speak their minds for what they believe in and in many instances are reacting on feedback given by their constituents whom they are representing.

Coming back to the MCA, will there come a day when MCA MPs can show that they are as intelligent as they are as propagated by their mouthpieces, and can therefore give convincing speeches in Parliament, and be responsible to the people by being transparent, rather than always pleasing the Prime Minister, and be handed comfortable posts in the government?

This latest admission by Dr Ling of money politics, other than revealing the sad state of MCA affairs as a component member of the ruling coalition, addresses the deeper underlying question of what relevance is MCA to the Chinese community when they have their own problems to deal with from within, and would thus not be able to serve the people. They have indeed betrayed the Chinese community, which they are supposedly out to protect by roundly endorsing the PM's declaration of an Islamic State on Sept 29, 2001 at a Gerakan delegates conference.

We might aspire for Vision 2020 status, but if MCA were to continue being mired in money politics and factionalism in Team A and Team B and even suppressing responsible dissent, then Malaysia's visionary future as promised by the BN would be in direct betrayal of the people's trust.


*  Ashvin Raj, DAPSY Assistant National Publicity Secretary