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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MCA closes an eye: Hisham's no longer so 'racial' but others disagree

MCA closes an eye: Hisham's no longer so 'racial' but others disagree

Despite the widely-held perception that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is playing the racial card even more than when he was the UMNO Youth chief, MCA leaders who have been faulted by him for incompetence begged to differ.

They preferred not to chide Hisham for comments revealed in WikiLeaks that he blamed their party for the BN's loss of non-Malay votes in the 2008 general elction.

“This happened four years ago. You can’t say that this is his current stand,” Malaysian Insider reported MCA vice president Donald Lim as saying.

As for MCA president Chua Soi Lek, he said that if he reacted, “it would result in very inflammatory comments” but stopped short of expressing what those burning remarks could be.

Cowards and opportunists

The MCA leaders were immediately ticked off by Pakatan Rakyat leaders, who expressed disgust at their political "opportunism" and "cowardice".

"I thought Hisham is even more hardline and extreme than before. His behaviour over the Bersih rally and the cowhead incident in Selangor cannot be swept under the rug," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

Despite frequent criticism, and with many Malaysians often rebuking Hisham for tending to react without thinking, he is now regarded as a strong contender for the Deputy Prime Minister's post. Incumbent Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to successfully challenge Prime Minister Najib Razak for the country's top job next year.

MCA leaders especially Soi Lek and his deputy Liow Tiong Lai have already been accused of throwing their support behind Muhyiddin.

"For sure, Soi Lek and Co. will also be cosying up to Hishammuddin now," Eddie Wong, a PKR veteran, toldMalaysia Chronicle.

Since a shock survey released earlier this week by the Merdeka Centre showed Najib's popularity had plunged to 59 percent in August compared to 65 percent in May and 72 percent in May 2010, there has been red-hot speculation that he may be asked to announce a 'succession' plan in favour of Muhyiddin when their UMNO party meets in December.

"I believe the survey results are significant. I am sure all the parties will pay close attention as it can affect the outcome of the next General Election. But whether this extends to Muhyiddin taking over from Najib is too soon to tell," Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, told Malaysia Chronicle.

However, he agreed there were limited choices in UMNO and if there was any power transition, Hisham stood a good chance of becoming the DPM.

It was MCA's fault

During the 2006 UMNO assembly, Hisham and the deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin offended the non-Malays when they raised the keris (or Malay short sword) and proclaimed Malay supremacy.

The act suggested that they were willing to shed non-Malay blood for the sake of their unsubstantiated claims of being defenders of the Malay race. This was cited as a factor for the BN's failure to retain the non-Malay votes in the 2008 general election.

However, a leaked US cable revealed on Wednesday that Hisham blamed the negative non-Malay response on the MCA, accusing them of being unable to 'manage' the reaction of the Chinese.

- Malaysia Chronicle

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