Worst slide and lowest point of MCA political marginalization in Barisan Nasional/Alliance – the most light-weight Cabinet post for the MCA President in 46 years since Merdeka in 1957
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The mini Cabinet reshuffle announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad consequent to the resignation of Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik as MCA President marks the worst slide and lowest point of MCA political marginalization in the Barisan Nasional/Alliance coalition – with the most light-weight Cabinet post for the MCA President in 46 years since Merdeka in 1957.
The post of Minister of Housing and Local Government had always been the most junior of the four MCA Cabinet posts, but it has now been elevated to be the Cabinet post befitting the MCA President! Its significance is no different for instance, if the MIC President is made the Minister for Youth and Sports or the Gerakan President is made Minister for National Unity and Social Development.
When the country achieved independence, the MCA President occupied one of the most senior Cabinet posts as Finance Minister. There was a time when the MCA leadership even made a bid for the post of Deputy Prime Minister. Today, the MCA President occupies one of the most junior Cabinet posts as Minister for Housing and Local Government.
There were those who had thought that the important role played by the Chinese voters in the 1999 general election in ensuring that the Barisan Nasional retained its two-thirds parliamentary majority would be reflected by more important Cabinet posts assigned to the MCA President and other MCA leaders, breaking the “glass ceiling” that the Transport Minister is the highest Cabinet position which could be given to the MCA President.
Now, a new precedent has been set, that there are even more junior Cabinet positions which could be allocated to the MCA President. The allocation of an additional deputy minister’s post (accompanied by reduction of a parliamentary secretary) for MCA cannot compensate for the worst political marginalization of the MCA in the past 46 years.
Or are there other reasons for the worst slide and lowest point of MCA political marginalization in the Barisan Nasional/Alliance coalition – with the MCA President occupying the most light-weight Cabinet post in the history of MCA? Has this anything to do with the unresolved police reports and investigations about “black gold” politics – the unholy alliance of triad politics and money politics - sparked by allegations by the MCA Youth leader, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman