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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paying the price for subservience to Umno


This article was earlier published in TheAntDaily.com on 30th August 2013

MCA, Gerakan and PPP suffered humiliating defeats in the last two general elections, and their leaders know the cause: their subservience to Umno, the “big brother” in the Barisan Nasional.

They may blame their defeat on the opposition parties for allegedly spreading lies about them, but it will not change the reality.

In the 12th general election in 2008, MCA, Gerakan and PPP took a heavy drubbing: Gerakan lost the Penang state to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, with all its state assemblymen wiped out.

In the 13th general election, the three BN parties fared even worse. MCA managed to secure only seven parliamentary seats, down from 15 in the previous election. Gerakan is left with only one seat while PPP did not win a single parliamentary or state seat.

The leaders of these three major BN partners know that their ties with Umno were the biggest drawback in the electoral battles. They know they have been overly subservient to Umno, which has been dictating policies in the coalition and the government.

Thus many kinds of unjust laws, initiated by Umno, have been implemented which are deemed to be unfair to the minorities. MCA, Gerakan and PPP have also failed to resist Umno’s far-right politics and continuous manipulation of race and religion under the guise of Malay supremacy.

What have the trio done to correct the situation? Why did these three BN component parties allow their “big brother” to continue misusing race and religion? They have indeed failed to check the unjust actions of Umno.

If the three partners are serious in defending the rights of the communities they claim to represent, they should have left BN a long time ago. But instead, they chose to remain in the tainted governing coalition just because of positions, power and fame in the government.

Electoral losers are made senators to gain entry into the government, or any other positions in government-linked companies and other agencies.

As a result, these three smaller brothers were unable to state their stand firmly on many policies which are currently threatening the interests of the minority communities.

Yet they continue to deny or ignore the stark reality. It only goes to show that the leaders of MCA, Gerakan and PPP are more interested in preserving their power rather than in upholding the interests of the people.

Will MCA, Gerakan and PPP be able to revive themselves before the 14th general election? Certainly not if they are still in BN.

One way these parties can make a comeback is for all the current leaders to resign their party posts and for their parties to quit BN. Besides, they must also not seek re-election in party polls.

Being lame ducks in BN, they should work outside the framework of coalition politics to rebuild their strength.

The old guards at the state, divisional and branch levels must also give up their positions to allow a new generation of leaders to take over.

Despite being mauled in the last two polls, the leaders of MCA, Gerakan and PPP stayed on shamelessly. They even went out of their way to stifle dissent in their parties in the wake of the electoral defeats.

So far only Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has relinquished his post, having  passed the baton to his deputy Datuk Chang Ko Youn. MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and PPP chief Datuk M Kayveas are still in the saddles.

Although Chua had announced he would not seek re-election in the party polls in December, political observers are sceptical about his intentions.

Prior to GE13, MCA leaders had solemnly pledged that they would not accept any government posts if they were to suffer another massive electoral defeat.

But some of the leaders did not keep to the pledge. Chua is still comfortably holding the post of Penang Port Commission chairman, while MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen has been appointed chairman of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board.

A Johor MCA assemblyman, Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, has also accepted a state executive councillor’s post and was suspended from the party for three months.

So, how does MCA expect people to vote for the party when its leaders do not keep to their pledge? This is what we call “broken promises”.

Gerakan and PPP are no better off. They propound a multi-racial ideology and preach about the importance of national unity, but where are they when Umno, MCA and MIC keep on emphasising ethnic agendas?

In the end, Gerakan and PPP ended up failing to push ahead their non-racial agendas. It means that the two parties have no standing at all in BN because their non-racial approach has been compromised.

The writing is on the wall for MCA, Gerakan and PPP if they persist in clinging on to BN.

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