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When MCA is left at sea

Perhaps it is time for the MCA to indulge in serious soul-searching to ascertain its stand on certain important things

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So much water has gone under the bridge by the time the MCA, the supposedly major and equal partner in Barisan Nasional, complained about not being consulted regarding the recent dismissal of Annuar Musa as the coalition’s secretary-general.

The Chinese-based party said it only got wind of the dismissal after being alerted to it by media reports. By that time, the successor to Annuar had been named, ie Ahmad Maslan, who is also Umno secretary-general.

Apparently fuming over the incident, the MCA insists that the issue should have been brought to the BN supreme council so that a decision could be reached on a consensus basis – and not unilaterally decided by Umno, the key player in the rump coalition since the 2018 general election.

The dismissal is as unilateral as Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s move to resign as Prime Minister of the Pakatan Harapan government – a decision which took PH partners and their supporters by surprise and gave rise to despair and even anger.

As to Annuar’s dismissal, Ahmad quibbled over the term, insisting he was replaced and not dismissed.

Whatever term one uses, the reality is that Annuar was dropped from the BN post as he was perceived (largely by Umno) to be overly defending Bersatu in his public expressions lately to the extent he contradicted distinctly the views expressed by certain Umno leaders.

MCA leaders have a legitimate reason to complain about the unilateral decision for the simple reason that partners in a pact deserve equal treatment and mutual consultation and should make collective decisions. Moreover, the decision revolves around an important issue of position in the coalition, ie the person who’d serve as an anchor to the pact.

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This is irrespective of the fact that the MCA is relatively lightweight in terms of its political representation in Parliament and state assemblies, arising from its failure to appeal to much of its Chinese base over the years. It is still a partner and a senior one at that.

It is already bad enough for the MCA to be perceived by the public, particularly the Chinese electorate, as a poodle in the coalition, especially when it is unable to defend certain interests of the Chinese community, such as the legitimacy of the Unified Examination Certificate of the Chinese high schools – or unable to serve as a useful countervailing force to check on corrupt practices as scandalous as the infamous 1MDB.

To be sure, a useful and true partner must also be guided by certain principles to avoid the possibility of others in the coalition treating it as a mere doormat or yes man – thus, losing its respectability and legitimacy.

While it is important for a coalition to put on a united front in the eyes of the public, committed partners are ideally expected to serve as a useful check-and-balance mechanism, especially when the coalition appears to lose its moral bearing.

In case the MCA is oblivious of things real, it – as well as another long-time component party in BN, the MIC – has been seen as playing second fiddle to Umno for some time now. Perhaps it is time for the MCA to indulge in serious soul-searching to ascertain its stand on certain important things so that its integrity and dignity as a political entity can still be salvaged.

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It is obviously important for a political party to be taken seriously. Otherwise, it would be hopelessly rendered irrelevant.

Source: The Malaysian Insight

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