Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat has always been a pragmatic and forward looking leader in MCA. Previously, we have exchanged many views on politics, economy and other social issues.
Before the recent general election, Tee Keat shared with me his concern about voters alienating BN and that the coalition and his party may have lost touch with the grassroots. As a result, he had started a programme in his constituency called "Borak-borak Bersama Wakil Rakyat" to go down at least once a week to meet up with his voters. I am sure the programme is still ongoing.
MCA's communal representation was severely tested and rendered irrelevant in the last GE. Another prominent Malaysian thinker shared with me the same observation. He said the party will go into oblivion if it does not change its direction and widen its scope. I fully agreed and I have personally encourage Tee Keat to take helm to lead his party's transformation and change.
MCA, like other non-Malay component parties, must not lose the chance to force change within BN by instituting internal reinvention themselves. Going back to the same old mould and same old BN formula is no longer viable for MCA and the rest.
Hence, I applaud Tee Keat's call for MCA to be more multiracial in outlook. Although being Chinese educated, Tee Keat sets an example of a truly Malaysian leader who speaks fluent English and Malay.
Most importantly, Tee Keat has a supporter - his old nemesis in UMNO Youth - in Hishammudin Hussein who looks ready to adopt his grandfather vision of non-communalism.
But his idea was shot down by his own MCA colleague, Ong Ka Chuan. Secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan said it was not on the party's agenda at the moment. "When the Chinese decided to become citizens, they formed MCA to look after the Chinese. Suddenly, you say they should become multiracial. It is possible, but not something that you can do overnight. It is not easy to open your door and let other races come in and I don't think it can be achieved in a short while."
Ong is still living in his own delusion. He should count how many Chinese majority seats won by the MCA - NONE! Chinese Malaysians have moved on and majority of them have thrown their support for non-sectarian parties. Half of the parliament seats won by MCA are in Johor.
Meanwhile, another party VP Fong Chan Onn admitted that MCA is a distant second to UMNO in BN. He should share his view with Ong and explain to the latter why most Chinese Malaysians abandoned the party.
MCA members who love their party and are committed citizens of Malaysia must support Tee Keat's quest in making MCA a truly Malaysian Citizens' Association.