COMMENT | On March 31, I received a WhatsApp message headlined ‘Breaking News - MCA Leaves Barisan Nasional’.
According to the sensational introduction: “In the biggest political development in Malaysia since the exclusion of PAS from Pakatan, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a component of the coalition Barisan Nasional (National Front), announced its withdrawal from the Barisan.”
Further on, the article stated that the MCA president had said that he was resigning from his post with immediate effect and that the central committee had instructed all members of the MCA “who are holding any government position to resign forthwith”.
I must confess that I was among what must have been many thousands of Malaysians who were initially fooled by this WhatsApp message.
I should have immediately realised that it was an April Fool’s Day joke. In fact, the name of the author of the news report - Neo Tar Pean - which translates to ‘You big s...’ should have alerted me, too, that this was a cheeky scam and not to be taken seriously.
But I must credit whoever wrote that article for a sharp analysis of why the MCA had decided to call it quits from BN.
Neo not only provided a highly credible explanation in tracing the steady decline of the party status as equal partner in the original Alliance party “to a minion”. In a few paragraphs he succinctly summarised the work of other scholars and analysts who have studied the country's political history and examined the rise of the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ ideology under Umno, which has relegated the party to second class status.
Although this report was quickly exposed as a fake, there is a part of it which must be giving nightmares to the MCA leaders.
This is the part which reads:
“In recent months, the Umno support for the PAS Bill placed the MCA in such an embarrassing position of not being able to voice our opposition under the Barisan Protocol of no external dissension. In public, we were flailed by all and sundry for not speaking out vehemently against this divisive bill. Yes, the Prime Minister has, after much internal pressure from us and other Barisan parties,decided not to table the Bill BUT this is too little too late. Our credibility among the non-Bumiputra community has been severely compromised”...