Friday, March 19, 2010

MCA at the cusp of a Pyrrhic victory

Some time ago I pointed to the increasing irrelevance of the MCA within the Malaysian landscape. In the last General Elections the negative voter sentiment towards MCA candidates was palpable. In case anyone has forgotten, the party was then led by Ong Ka Ting.

One would have thought that after such a disastrous electoral outing, the party would have conducted post-mortems and regrouped and instituted meaningful reforms to reconnect with the voters who had spurned the party's candidates.

That hasn't happened.

Instead, we have witnessed and, are witnessing a convulsive implosion of the party.

The leadership problems that the MCA is facing in recent months exemplify the disease of insularity that can only be spawned by the party's institutional structure that is designed to perpetuate centralisation of power at the expense of genuine democratic spirit.

We are now witnessing the nauseating jostling and wheeling and dealing that is going on in the run-up to the party's March 22 nominations.

It is an ugly spectacle that does no favours for the BN coalition.

Whoever gains power in the MCA, the irrelevance of the party to the wider electorate remains.

I'm not really interested in the petty intrigues and constant re-alignment of factions. That is a matter better left to genuine political analysts. Rather, I'm more focused on the bigger picture of whether the MCA will have any credibility left in eyes of the wider electorate after the internecine infighting tapers off.

So, I make this unhappy observation that whomever and whichever "team" wins the battle for leadership will be achieving a Pyrrhic victory, that is to say, a victory with such devastating cost to the victor, it carries the implication that another such will ultimately cause defeat.

This is the sad indictment on the current slate of MCA leaders. And, it points to a devastatingly bleak future for a party which has had such a distinguished past.

And, speaking of the past, the current slate of amnesiac leadership contenders will do well to read Francis Loh's concise essay on the history of MCA fratricide.

For, in the words of George Santayana:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
~ George Santayana (1905) Reason in Common Sense, volume 1 of The Life of Reason-


walla said...


And thirdly, the party must contribute a clear and present statement on social matters.

Most importantly, how to prevent the hydra of double-standards from spawning itself to sunder the integrity of institutions which are essential prerequisites if this nation is to progress even one more step.

The old method of leaving things to Umno on the stage and then trying to talk to it behind the backdrop isn't going to work anymore because Umno is itself too busy trying to dodge the tomatoes hurled at it by the audience who don't like the playacting anymore and want their money back. They are booing that they came to watch Hamlet but what they got instead was Laurel and Hardy. Many are in fact leaving the floor to head to Bangkok where one understands the shows are more electrifying [cough].

In the face of so many national challenges that threaten the relevance of this nation, there is no time for ego-busting interregna. The rakyat will ask how does nursing an ego help to add value to delivering relevant directions to the nation, and services to the community? And where is the realization that until recent memory, the party was the second biggest Chinese political party in the world? So what were you saying again that was the reason for the infighting?

But it would also be naive to think the whiteshirts can swallow personal pride and do the right things for once.

Because politics is about power is about lobbyists is about fame and fortune.

And yet because it has all along been precisely that which is why sanity and bravery must now prevail to take the crisis and turn it into one solitary opportunity to transform politics itself - from f&f to s&s.

Service and sacrifice.

If the MCA keeps on doing the same things the same way, they would be like sailors rearranging the deck furniture of the Poseidon as its bows start going saline.

One need only remember what had happened at the last AGM of Gerakan to intuit what can happen at the next AGM of the MCA if it doesn't wake up on time.

Lest one forgets, all it takes for any rakyat to make a difference is a simple x in a small box on a hot day when his p-index is max.


walla said...

Some may suggest this is just the warring states period before the romance of the three kingdoms.

Others may however quip it is actually the continuation of the Ngee Hin - Hai San Larut War of 1861 [shudders] which reminds one of the other conflict between the Patani's and the Riau's [shivers].

On a more serious note, the rakyat are at a complete loss what this jostling is all about.

Did the party have a hand in 1Malaysia and the NEM? What were the inputs? Did Umno receive them with open arms, minds and hearts? How was the reception? Ergo, what are the roles the community is to play in 21st Century Malaysia (21Malaysia)?


It is precisely because those questions have no answers that the party must remind itself to turn on its GPS and see exactly where it is sitting right now. It is sitting at one epicenter of multiple storms wrecking havoc on a piece of real-estate called Barisan whose boundaries are in fact being re-drawn as you read this.

GE12 delivered a tsunami wave. Like Aceh, that wave came from a massive shift in the tectonic plates under the sea. What was subterranean rose to the water surface and then propelled itself like a big bubble bursting onto the shore, leveling everything in its path.

The effect was to demolish the quid pro quo rationale for race-based politics which was perceived as useless because one party monopolized everything until federalism became dictatorship which then proceeded merrily to marginalize half the country from contributing with a unified and willing heart to all that this nation could have been. Which is why we seem to be needing new economic models now. Or so we thought.

The MCA's new manifesto if it survives its own handiwork must therefore state clearly how to return federalism into the rubric of this country's politics.

Furthermore, the party must seriously put substance into answering what the nation is to do in the area of economic development and national competitiveness.