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?