Thursday, August 28, 2008

Belling the cat

Dr Chua Soi Lek appears to have thrown the gauntlet at Ong Tee Keat. The kid gloves have come off. In his terse latest blog entry with a grammatically challenged title, Candidates should not only pretend to speak our for the community, he sounded exasperated with the mainstream media (MSM) (which, by the way, echoes what the rest of us knew for many decades).

The source of possible MCA presidential candidate, Dr Chua's ire was the statement made by Ong Tee Keat that the MCA may pull out of the BN over the ketuanan Melayu issue. This statement was reported only in Nanyang Siang Pau. All other MSM, be they vernacular or Bahasa Malaysia or English, appeared to have regarded the statement as not being newsworthy!

This led Dr Chua to infer that the statement was meant for Chinese-educated eyes only since no one, certainly not UMNO, appeared to be aware of such a strongly worded statement from Ong Tee Keat, who is a declared MCA presidential aspirant. The Sun reported on this issue today.

Some MCA history to be recalled
The issue framed by Dr Chua is interesting as it is long overdue. Most Malaysians, not just Chinese Malaysians, have regarded the MCA as an emasculated novice eunuch to UMNO's imperial throne. The emasculation is not recent. I give you 2 pivotal events long, long ago:

First, between 1951 and 1956, Tan Cheng Lock was torn between leading MCA into an alliance with UMNO or, ally itself with the Independence of Malaya Party led by Dato' Onn Jaafar. Many historical records show that Tan Cheng Lock was actually leaning towards the IMP. But this move was thwarted by the likes of TH Tan who, eventually exposed himself as the errand boy of the Tunku. If ever there was a Trojan horse in MCA, TH Tan may well fit the bill.

Second, by 1959 the restive MCA members led by Dr Lim Chong Eu mounted a successful challenge against Tan Cheng Lock. The plank that Dr Lim rode on was a more assertive MCA in relation to UMNO. The records show that Dr Lim was forced to resign as MCA President due to pressure asserted by UMNO.

I believe that it is also a sad testament to the lack of true democracy in the MCA that Dr Lim Chong Eu's portrait does not appear in MCA's pantheon of presidents in Wisma MCA. This attitude towards true history and, attempts to re-write history, is another tragic feature that typify Malaysian politics. (By the way, I stand corrected. Dr Lim's portrait was put up some years ago. A commentator was kind enough to point this out. Thanks)

Wasn't it George Santayana who said, "Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it"?

Belling the cat
I want to keep this entry short. Though Dr Chua's views may be coloured by his present political aspirations, we should not dismiss it. He has tried to frame the future direction of MCA in the context of MCA's relationship with UMNO.

But, in so doing, he must surely realise that to the rest of us who are neutral on MCA, he, like all leaders and followers in MCA (we might as well throw MIC and Gerakan into this milieu) is still conducting a discourse and debate within the context and parameters set and fixed by UMNO. How can genuine party reform take place in such a myopic setting?

And, so, I end by inviting you to read another one of Aesop's Fables entitled, Belling the cat.


Anonymous said...

Lim Chong Eu's big photo is on the wall of MCA Presidents lar....

You can see it at MCA HQ....

CT Choo said...

oops! it shows how long ago since i last step foot in Wisma MCA! thanks for the correction. mucho apologias.maybe i shld drop by more often