They also reported that another appointment, that of Nanyang Siang Pau deputy chief editor Cheng Kee Chien as a press secretary to the prime minister, is in the process as well which will make Cheng the first Chinese press secretary to Mahathir.
Both media quoted sources as saying that Mahathir felt that “the distance between the government and the Chinese society is widening” and is making the appointments “to help him forge a closer relationship between the Chinese community and the government”.
The four MCA Ministers should resign in shame that they have become so ineffective and untrustworthy in representing the views and aspirations of the Malaysian Chinese in Cabinet and government that the Prime Minister has to appoint a special assistant relating to the Chinese community - especially as the MCA leaders had always claimed that they are the sole representatives of the Malaysian Chinese in government.
In the last general election, UMNO suffered unprecedented electoral setback when it lost 16 Parliamentary seats and 55 State Assembly seats as compared to the 1995 general election, lost another state government in Terengganu while narrowly losing power in Kedah, Perlis and even Pahang.
For the first time in UMNO history, it had to depend on the other Barisan Nasional component parties, in particular MCA’s 28 Parliametnary seats, to ensure that the Barisan Nasional is returned to power with two-thirds parliamentary majority.
But although UMNO’s unprecedented electoral defeat marked a grave erosion of Malay support, MCA’s win was not because it had won Chinese support - but merely marked the success of the MCA’s dirty politics of fear on the spectre of May 13 riots and the lies about a vote for DAP was a vote for PAS’ Islamic State.
This is why after the general election, the political stocks of the Barisan Nasional and the Prime Minister himself plunged to an unprecedented low not only among Malaysians in general but particularly the Chinese, as reflected in the series of by-elections, most notably in the Lunas by-election in Kedah in November last year.
The MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr.Ling Liong Sik and the other MCA Ministers must bear full responsibility for the stand taken by the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional on Suqiu, Vision Schools, Damansara Chinese primary school, the breach of the university intake quota of 55:45 for bumiputra and non-bumiputra students respectively for over two decades and the unfair university admissions where SPM top scorers with 12As are denied university entry into their courses of choice and scholarships which had further alienated the Chinese community and all fair-minded Malaysians.
This may be why Liong Sik and the other MCA leaders have recently been up to their old political game of trying to distract the Chinese community from their grievances over these issues by going round the country with the falsehood that PAS are like the Talibans who would destroy Buddhist and Kuan Kung statues in total distortion of what the Pahang PAS State Assembly leader Idris Omar had said in the State Assembly.
May be Liong Sik could at least find comfort that his pet theory that “the fish rots from the head” has enlisted a new convert, namely the Prime Minister himself, and this is why Mahathir had decided not to fully trust and depend on the MCA Ministers but to appoint a special assistant to advise him on matters relating to the Chinese community.