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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Of WikiLeaks, the MCA and Chinese marginalization - Ong Tee Keat

Of WikiLeaks, the MCA and Chinese marginalization - Ong Tee Keat

A casual chat of view exchange with academics and friends of various political beliefs has been part of my known habit of political discourse over the years. Indeed there was no big deal when I was articulating the then prevailing psyche of the ethnic Chinese community in response to the queries on the community’s ground sentiment posed by my visitors, including the diplomat.

It is worth reiterating that the comments purportedly made by me (as was implicated or cited in the Wikileaks) was largely my observation and assessment of the Chinese community’s sentiment and perception pursuant to the statement of marginalization by Mr Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.

The metaphoric descriptions of “leftover” and “crumbs” were the exact words I quoted from certain corporate personalities that were coincidentally shared by the petty traders in my own constituency over the issue in September 2006.

Unfortunately, certain vernacular press had translated the “leftover” and “crumbs” portion erroneously and depicted it as project handouts. In fact, nothing was linked to any project handout as the conversation was centered primarily on the effectiveness of MCA in the ruling coalition.

Throughout the conversation, the only view of mine expressed was the prior assessment of the Chinese support for BN/ MCA in the 12th General Election. I was not at all optimistic then. Unfortunately, what I described as “plummeting Chinese support for the Party” really came true as an enormous wave of political tsunami in the 2008 poll later.

Knowing very well that my observation might again raise many eyebrows in the leadership following several bouts of controversies that put me under siege, I chose to make it personal. To cite a few, I was first ridiculed for having posted the details of my Parliamentarian fund allocation to my personal website. I was chastised for raising the people’s expectation for good governance through transparency and accountability.

This was further incensed by my later statement exposing the misappropriation of public fund for urgent school repair projects in two Chinese Primary Schools in Muar District, where RM 30,000 project allocation was found to have been short-changed for only RM3000 worth workdone.

That had indeed ruffled the feathers of many in the authorities. I was censured by the Cabinet in my absence for having meddled with matters outside my portfolio’s jurisdiction. I was lambasted by the Party leadership in addition to the lop-sided adverse coverage of the issue by the main stream media. In short, I was instantly depicted as ‘unpardonable’ overnight in mid-September 2006.

Thank God, I managed to survive all these political ordeals until I was ultimately toppled craftily from the MCA Presidency and subsequently dropped from Dato Sri Najib’s Cabinet in 2010. Nonetheless,I remain adamant with my support for the “1-Malaysia” notion in pursuit of genuine cohesiveness and inclusiveness within our social fabric. But the journey is bound to be bumpy as the terrain is challenging not just to the Administration but to the nation as a whole.

As to whether MCA shares the community’s perception of being marginalized or otherwise, the current Party leadership should have the courage and wisdom to answer. After all, I have no role to play in it anymore.

- Ong Tee Keat is the MP for Pandan

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