Both outgoing and incoming MCA President “lame-duck” leaders who are beholden to the UMNO leadership

- DAP Bukit Bintang Dinner to mark the DAP success in the “Re-open Bukit Bintang Walk” campaign 

by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur,  Friday) Malaysiakini reported today that the leaders of the A and B factions of MCA, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Lim Ah Lek, have agreed to step down from their posts before the general election under the “second phase” of the  peace plan proposed by the  Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri  Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysiakini quoted MCA “party insiders” that Liong Sik and Ah Lek  had been given a memorandum by Mahathir  on their  “retirement” under the “peace plan” where both would “bury the hatchet”   and agree on a successor to the party presidency to  “arrest the decline of the party’s image in recent months so that MCA could deliver the Chinese vote to the Umno-led ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, in the general election” expected in less than 12 months.

Malaysiakini said it learnt that Ah Lek  had signed the memorandum when it was first put forward to him about two weeks ago. However, Ling had only signed the document as recent as early this week, just before Mahathir left for his visit to Japan.

Under the “peace plan”, the announcement of the duo’s retirement will not be made before the party’s June 29 annual general meeting.  It will only be made known at least three months before the general election to allow the new team time to establish its authority.

Malaysiakini reported that it is believed that two vice-presidents, Ong Ka Ting and Chan Kong Choy, who are the protegés of Liong Sik and Ah Lek  respectively, will be promoted to the top posts at the expense of  the  other two more senior vice-presidents, Dr Fong Chan and Chua Jui Meng.

Malaysiakini gave an intriguing twist to the MCA power tussle alleging that Liong Sik’s “willingness” to ink the “retirement agreement” at the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya this week was related to the return to Malaysia last week of businessman Soh Chee Wen, who  had been on the run since 1999 after he was charged with defrauding a now defunct stockbroking firm Omega Securites Sdn Bhd of more than RM500 million and who claimed intimate and intricate business dealings with Liong Sik.

Whatever the final permutation and combination of the MCA factional fights, the winner is neither the MCA A team nor the MCA B team, but the MCA U team, where U stands for “UMNO”.

Never before in MCA history have both the outgoing and incoming MCA President become “lame duck” leaders who are beholden to the UMNO leadership for its “beneficence”, transforming the early Merdeka relationship of UMNO and the other coalition parties as primus inter pares (first among equals) to that of the feudal lord and serf relationship.

Is such  fundamental structural change in the Barisan Nasional power equation between UMNO and the other component parties the reason why, for instance, the MCA Ministers have been so silent, compliant and subservient in a whole range of issues deeply touching the most basic concerns of Malaysians, whether it be the latest  multiple injustices of the unprofessional university selection process, or the “929 declaration” of Mahathir that Malaysia is an Islamic State in utter disregard of the 44-year 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract” that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious, tolerant and progressive nation with Islam as official religion but not an Islamic state  or controversies over the Damansara Chinese primary school re-opening, Vision School and Suqiu?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman