Mahathirís statement that a non-Malay in future can become Prime Minister meaningless when the glass ceiling in Cabinet for MCA is Transport Minister

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the 47th MCA general assembly on Saturday that a non-Malay in future could become Prime Minister is meaningless when the glass ceiling in Cabinet for the MCA is Transport Minister.

This brutal reality was brought home in the recent "resignation drama" of MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the remark by Mahathir that the MCA cannot be assured that the new Transport Minister would come from MCA after Liong Sik - holding the prospect of further marginalisation of the MCA in Cabinet despite better electoral showing than UMNO in the last general election.

When not a single  MCA, Gerakan, MIC or SUPP leader dares think of being appointed to  anyone of the important first-rank Cabinet posts, like Deputy Prime Minister, Finance, Education, Home Affairs, International Trade and Industry, Defence, is it realistic for anyone to react to Mahathirís statement as if a major nation-building breakthrough is on the make?

The  reactions of the MCA General Assembly to Mahathirís speech is very significant, for it gave rise to calls during the debate by MCA delegates to support the MCAís demand for another MCA  Minister or Deputy Minister - although  no MCA leader dared to suggest that the time has come to  break the present glass ceiling and for MCA to be appointed to more important portfolios!

Mahathir said that "if we are sensitive towards the needs of the Malaysian people, the issue of race and descent will no longer prevent any Malaysian from holding any post".

Let us not talk about the office  of the Prime Minister but focus on all the other important posts in government, including the various Ministries and important posts.

Is the Barisan Nasional government prepared, as Malaysia moves into the 21st century and the 44th  year of nationhood, to begin to make appointments to all top government posts solely from the point of view of Malaysian citizenship, merit and  competence without any regard to race or religion?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman