MCA President Dr Chua Soi Lek has warned the Chinese community that their support for the opposition may cause no Chinese representation in the ruling government. Dr Chua had criticized the SUPP for still accepting government positions in the Sarawak after the latter was badly thrashed in the recent elections.
I am surprised that the MCA president did not learn from the party he had criticized. SUPP was using the exact same strategy in Sarawak. In Sibu, the party had asked the voters to keep the only Chinese minister in the state assembly. Wong Soon Koh did win but his win was controversial.
The other 7-term incumbent, George Chan, was not so lucky when he was defeated by a young Dap upstart in Piasau.
It shows that the Chinese voters do not really buy a lack of representation threat.
MCA's leadership is too outdated. It does not matter if Liow Tiong Lai, Kong Cho Ha, Ng Yen Yen and Chor Chee Heung are in the cabinet or not.
Chinese voters no longer cast their votes based on race or ethnicity. They would prefer to vote for good governance, equality, greater voice and respect as citizens and a better future. They want the government to address issues related to corruption, a lack of economic growth, public safety, higher living costs, education and others.
The fact that Chua has given an ultimatum to the Chinese voters has shown that he needs better advice in political strategy. If the Alliance can learn to become more inclusive after the 1969 political debacle, the Barisan Nasional should be able to use the lesson of 2008 and 2011 (Sarawak) to move towards a broader and fairer political participation from all Malaysians.
The reluctance of Barisan Nasional especially Umno and MCA to move beyond racial politics is going to inflict a worse political defeat compared to 2008. In politics, anything is possible. Even a day can be deemed too long.
Chua must address his party internal weaknesses if he wants to win back the votes. This is not the 70's or 80's where the Chinese voters were haunted by the ghost of 1969. Mahathir had used the threat very effectively.
If even 1969 ghost had been exorcised, what is there to make MCA feel that the Chinese are afraid of no representation in the government?
It is Barisan Nasional lost if there is no Chinese representatives in the cabinet. Barisan's greatest strength has always been its ethnic inclusiveness. By taking a hard line position on the Chinese, it is going to push more minority parties to leave the coalition. A fully Umno dominated coalition government is not going to work in multiracial Malaysia.
Dr Chua might have bitten more than what he can chew. Najib's over enthusiasm to dance to Chua's tune may actually backfire badly on the coalition. Some fence sitters may now vote against the Barisan because of the threat which they may find unfair and disrespectful.
MCA should focus on delivering on its political promises than playing this risky trick. It should come clean on the PKFZ if the party wants to redeem itself.
There is already growing discontentment with Chua's ultimatum to the Chinese voters. Ignore these voices at his own peril.