“... By disarming, you at once give offense, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either as doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you.”
- Niccolò Machiavelli, ‘The Prince’
COMMENT | The answer to that is MCA obviously cannot do anything much for the ruling BN coalition anymore. How do you remain relevant when you have lost your voting base? Umno does not need MCA to win elections. The dodgy meme that the current Umno prime minster is a “minority” prime minster is as fallacious as the so-called “Chinese tsunami”.
It is pointless talking about the other communities here in Malaysia because this has always been about the Malay-Chinese dialectic. How this regime demonises the Chinese community when the hegemon is in trouble or relies on it - former prime minister and now de facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad actually at one time thanked the Chinese community for sustaining his power - in times of plenty demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between economic power, race and political stability.
If the Malay community was not in a perceived state of agitation, there really would be no need for anyone to question the relevancy of MCA because Umno would have no problem allowing the plutocrats, who actually run this Chinese-based party, to coast on former glories to sustain the charade that a multi-ethnic government runs Malaysia for the betterment of all.
I say “perceived” because the more I look beyond the spin and talk to people on the ground who actually have a pulse on what is going on, the reality is that the odds favour Umno in this coming election.
The “Malay” heartland, which the opposition has been unable to influence beyond coming up with dodgy data on how the heartland is not as secure as Umno believes, remains the key to Putrajaya. That most strategically adroit of political operatives - Mahathir - realises that if he can destabilise Umno in the peninsula to the point that Umno has to rely on Sabah and Sarawak for power, it would be game over for the current Umno potentate.
All of this merely means that as far as remaining relevant, MCA has very little to do now. By its own admission it has lost its Chinese voting base. The problem is, what does MCA think the Chinese community really wants? What exactly has MCA done wrong that has made the community lose trust, not in the BN coalition but rather in MCA?
Five years ago, in the MCA’s long journey into night, I wrote - “What is really destroying MCA is not the propaganda of DAP but the acceptance by a large voting demographic of the Chinese community that no representation in the government is better than MCA representation.”
So, this idea that representation in the federal government is the holy grail of the basis of “Chinese” support is mistaken. As far as anyone can tell, and most political insiders, establishment and opposition will tell you - most often off the record - is that all the opposition has to do is remain relevant on a state level and the majority of the Chinese vote will always go to the opposition...