(Ipoh, Wednesday): I have been following an exchange on the
soc.culture Malaysia newsgroup on the Internet over the
“silence” and “cowardice” of the MCA leadership in failing to
speak up against the “929 Declaration” of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.
Mahathir Mohamad at the Gerakan national assembly on September 29 last year
declaring that Malaysia is an Islamic state.
In response to a post that there was no need for
the MCA, Gerakan and MIC to apologise for their failure to speak up against the
“929 Declaration”, there was the retort
that if it was true that the MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders really agreed with
Mahathir’s declaration that Malaysia is an Islamic state, they “should speak
up and let their supporters know. As it is, they have cowardly kept quiet and
shamelessly said nothing.”
The poster ended with the remark: “Tan Cheng
Lock would roll in his grave if any MCA leader dares to say he agreed with Tunku
for the Federation of Malaya to be an Islamic State.”
It is now equally pertinent to ask whether Tun
Tan Cheng Lock is rolling in
his grave that the MCA President’s post has been degraded to fighting for
equal ranking with the UMNO Youth leader in the Barisan Nasional in the past few
Barisan Nasional, as successor to Alliance, was supposed to be
a coalition of equals - but this had always been
a myth. When Alliance was formed in the 1950s, UMNO's position in the
coalition was described as primus inter
pares - or first among equals. This may have described the relationship
between Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tun Tan Cheng Lock, but UMNO's position in the
Barisan Nasional is best described as primus
tanpa pares - first with no equals. (With
the rampant corruption of Malay by the English language, one can be forgiven for corrupting
Latin with Malay for a change).
latest Hishamuddin Hussein Onn -Ling Liong Sik spat is the best example of the
total change of character of the power relationships and equation
between UMNO and the other component parties in the Barisan Nasional
after more than four decades of
Alliance-Barisan Nasional "coalition" building.
reduced to a political party whose party constitution is utterely irrelevant and
subservient to the directives of the leader of another party, the MCA President
is now struggling to maintain a position of equals with the UMNO Youth leader!
Hishammuddin-Liong Sik spat is the first time in the 47-year history of UMNO-MCA
relations that the UMNO Youth
leader had publicly lambasted the MCA President for being "arrogant"
and "insensitive" in
"making sweeping statements", "souring relations between
UMNO Youth and MCA" and "should be more responsible" – followed
up with the Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi “directing” Liong Sik and Hishammuddin to meet and resolve
their differences. (“Abdullah arah Hishammuddin,Ling Liong Sik bersemuka”
– Utusan Malaysia front-page headline 11.6.02).
It t is
simply unthinkable that the MCA Youth leader would ever dare, or even dare to
entertain the idea, of doing what the UMNO Youth had done - to
publicly lambast the UMNO President in a threatening tone for being
"arrogant" and "insensitive"
for "making sweeping statements", accusing him of "souring
relations" between MCA Youth and UMNO
and lecturing him to "be more responsible", followed by
the MCA President telling the UMNO President and the
MCA Youth leader to “meet
and resolve their differences”.
even more unthinkable here is that in the Hishammuddin-Liong Sik spat, the MCA
Youth leader do not support the MCA President but is more on the side of the
UMNO Youth leader!
degradation of the position of the MCA President to the level of the UMNO Youth
leader must make Tan Cheng Lock roll in
transformation of UMNO's role in the ruling coalition from primus
inter pares to primus tanpa pares
is evident everywhere, including Penang,
where an UMNO Division Chairman is more powerful than the Gerakan Chief
Minister, who could not respond to the demands of the people of Penang for a
review of the RM1.2 billion Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project, simply
because the project had been privatised, against international best practices of
good urban governance and public integrity, to an UMNO division chairman in the