Barisan's fate to be discussed this week, says Wee Ka Siong, as he stresses MCA rebranding

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Wee Ka Siong also said that it is MCA 2.0 from now on as the party rebrands itself to take on new challenges while working towards achieving greater heights.
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Wee Ka Siong also said that it is MCA 2.0 from now on as the party rebrands itself to take on new challenges while working towards achieving greater heights.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The top leadership of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) will be meeting in three days' time to discuss the way forward for Barisan Nasional.

MCA president Wee Ka Siong said the party, MIC and Umno would then later meet to decide on the fate of the coalition, which they had founded together and through which they gained the country's independence in 1957.

MCA had earlier requested for a Barisan supreme council meeting to be called over the coalition's fate.

"We hope that the Barisan supreme council can call for a meeting soon," said Datuk Seri Dr Wee at the opening of the MCA 70th anniversary celebration here on Saturday (March 2).

"We are to seek a consensus agreed by all three component parties and work together in deciding the way forward for all of us."

No date had yet been set for the meeting, he added.

On Dec 2 last year, delegates at the MCA annual general assembly had passed a resolution to push for Barisan's dissolution and to forge a new alliance.

 
 
 

On Dec 12, the MCA central committee had requested for a Barisan supreme council meeting to be held as soon as possible for MCA to raise the resolution.

Umno, MCA and MIC formed the Alliance before this was changed to Barisan Nasional and included other parties in 1974.

Barisan, which went into the general election last year as a 13-component party coalition, is now down to only the three founding parties.

Dr Wee also said that it is MCA 2.0 from now on as the party rebrands itself to take on new challenges while working towards achieving greater heights.

"MCA 2.0 must overtake MCA 1.0 to become a better MCA. The significance of MCA 2.0 is not just about facing new challenges but also for us to achieve greater heights," said Dr Wee to a packed hall at Wisma MCA here .

Themed "Provide checks and balances, prioritise public opinion", it highlights MCA's role as an effective opposition to check on the government while continuing to raise issues concerning the rakyat.

Deputy party president Mah Hang Soon, secretary-general Paduka Chew Mei Fun, Youth chief Nicole Wong Siaw Ting, Wanita chief Heng Seai Kie and party veterans were among those present.

Dr Wee also announced that the party is coming up with government monitoring groups to check on all government ministries.

They are national affairs and defence; economic development, basic infrastructure and development, local government and urban and rural development as well as education and human capital development.

Others are health and environment, telecommunication and multimedia as well as women, family and community development.

The remaining two are inter-ethnic harmony as well as youth and sports.

Dr Wee stressed that the spirit of MCA 1.0 - which emphasised on loyalty to the country and people - will always remain.

He added that party leaders and members will continue to draw inspiration and strength from its predecessors.

Set up on Feb 27, 1949, as a welfare body to protect and take care of the Chinese community in a then turbulent era, MCA has had its ups and downs.

It was officially changed to a political party in 1951, and its founding president Tan Cheng Lock declared that the Chinese-based MCA will take care of all races.

Having been part of the ruling coalition until the general election last year where Barisan lost federal power for the first time, Dr Wee said MCA was more than a ruling party.

He said it was a political organisation that fought against the British colonial government to protect the rights of Malayans. The party, he added, had also fought the communists and Malay extremists.

"In order to protect our comrades in the Chinese new villages, MCA members went into battle against armed communists," said Dr Wee.

"Even our founding president Tun Tan Cheng Lock almost lost his life in a hand-grenade attack."

Fast track to the present, Dr Wee said MCA is an opposition party that is "most loyal to His Majesty and also loyal to the democratic system".

Dr Wee, the Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament and the party's sole MP, has emerged as a much respected opposition MP in the last 10 months.

The party has been monitoring and providing checks and balances on the Pakatan Harapan government on a wide range of issues.

These include raising concerns about the devastating effect of plunging oil palm prices on smallholders, foreign workers' levy, abolition of the death penalty and criticisms against spending public money to develop the third national car project.

On Saturday, Dr Wee also said that Barisan should also sack its secretary-general Nazri Aziz over his alleged racist remarks during the Semenyih by-election campaign last week.

A video of Umno's Padang Rengas MP touching on the topic of closing down vernacular schools has gone viral.

However, Datuk Seri Nazri, who is being probed by the police for sedition, had denied he was being racist.

Dr Wee said that while Section 21(2) of the Education Act 1961 which empowered the Education Minister to convert vernacular schools to national schools was repealed in 1996, Mr Nazri's remarks had brought harm to the Chinese and Indian community.

"Obviously, he (Nazri) was campaigning for Pakatan Harapan and trying to bring down his own party," Dr Wee said.

Mr Nazri, he added, was no longer qualified as the Barisan secretary-general, adding that the coalition did not need such an arrogant leader who has no respect for other component parties and races.