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By Chow-Kam Foo

Chinese felt voiceless when MCA was in cabinet

No one from MCA and Gerakan were included in Premier Najib Abdul Razak's new cabinet. The decision was not made by Umno or Najib but by the MCA leadership prior to GE13.

However, PM Najib said that the door is still open to MCA participation if the party amends its decision not to participate in the cabinet.

Be that it may, it has to be said that MCA made the right call in that if it does not perform better than 2008, it would not be part of government.

It was a judgment call to measure the extent of faith and support the Chinese community would give to MCA in G13, after MCA (and Gerakan) were abandoned in droves in 2008 by the Chinese voters. MCA had been a loyal BN partner of Umno since Merdeka.

This decision by MCA meant it truly believes that it simply cannot justify itself in government if the party does not get the required support it needed to represent the Chinese community.

The fact is that it is willing to fall on its sword, and the MCA leadership should be commended for doing so.

On May 5, the Chinese community across the country did respond to MCA (and Gerakan), and they responded in no uncertain terms.

The message they sent to MCA (and Gerakan) was this: We don't want MCA or Gerakan to represent us in the Umno-led BN government. Period.

Why are the Chinese voters abandoning MCA and Gerakan in such large numbers in 2013?

Whatever reasons are volunteered, they all dovetail to one crucial point.

It is widely known that the Chinese Malaysians have long held the belief, especially in the last decade or so, that it is of little consequence to the Chinese community whether there are MCA or Gerakan Chinese sitting in Najib's Umno-BN cabinet.

For a simple reason, MCA and its MCA cabinet ministers are perceived as being spineless and speechless in the face of Umno.

The MCA ministers are damned if they speak out, and damned if they don't speak out against Umno's policy decisions affecting the Chinese community.

MCA insiders have quietly voiced that Umno cabinet ministers' respect for MCA's views on policy matters is only as an after-thought.

MCA's title as a "senior partner" in BN was respected by Umno in the early years. Today, that title is misplaced; in fact, it is viewed more as a joke by many in the Chinese community.

Many Chinese, especially the younger generation feel that the Chinese community will be able to claim back its pride if no Chinese are represented at all in Najib's new Umno-dominated cabinet.

And the only way for that to happen is for the Chinese voters to ensure that MCA candidates are defeated soundly in GE13, even if they need to vote Malay or Indian opposition candidates against an MCA candidate.

And that's what they did all over the country.

Post-GE13 is the time for the Chinese community to take stock of itself, to recalibrate its objectives and goals and how the community's members would want to engage themselves to make Malaysia a better country for their children, knowing full well their forebears had failed them in the last 40 years.

In that calculation, the survival of MCA and Gerakan is irrelevant because these two political parties had failed them for more than four decades.

In GE13, the Chinese community took a huge leap of faith, putting their trust as never before in political parties like PAS and PKR, in huge numbers, to look after them. It is a trust that will be reviewed in five years' time.

Will the Chinese community be saddened and a feel a sense of loss by the absence of MCA or Gerakan Chinese leaders in PM Najib's new cabinet? Unlikely so.