COMMENT | Does MCA have any moral credibility to criticise the Pakatan Harapan government, after 61 years of complicity with Umno in its racial politics, divisive economic and education policies and financial scandals galore? Of course not.
But now is the time for a complete makeover, and not to repeat the same old habits.
Malaysians are so sick of seeing political parties that represent a particular 'race'. A few MCA leaders have been quite sharp with their criticisms of the new Harapan government, but these ring hollow against the dismal record of their own past performance, especially tolerating the 1MDB scandal.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman is, however, one of the few positives from MCA. And given that the MCA was decisively discarded by the Chinese community in the 14th general election, there couldn’t be a better time for the party to reform itself.
And why are they limiting themselves to representing the Chinese community when they could be a national political party?
If MCA is to reform itself to become a party of relevance, what is it they need to do?
Disband your race-based party and embrace multiethnicity
Show Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that you are more courageous and principled than his pribumi (indigenous) party Bersatu, and morph into a multi-ethnic party. MCA, Umno, MIC, Bersatu are so…yesterday.
When we ratify the International Convention for the Eradication of Racism and Racial Discrimination (ICERD), race-based parties will not be permitted to exist any longer.
You could form a new multiethnic party or join Gerakan if you do not want to join the Harapan coalition. Just stay away from other monoethnic parties that pander to Malay supremacy.
Let human rights guide your actions
Your criticisms of the Harapan government will be more convincing if you base them on international human rights and principles, not on communalist points of view.
You could use the 1985 Joint Declaration of the Malaysian Chinese Associations as your guide. Then you will gain moral credibility. Now is the time to start.
Reach out to all classes of society
MCA started as a party that was led by the Chinese capitalist class. To be relevant today, the party needs to represent and champion all classes of Malaysians, especially the B40 of all ethnic groups.
And for this to happen, nothing short of a total mindset reframe is needed amongst current and rising potential leaders. This is possibly the biggest test for the party.
Thus, if in the future, we witness present MCA leaders speaking up and going to support the marginalised communities in the plantations or indigenous peoples, then we would be able to say that there has been a complete makeover of the MCA… only, you would no longer be called MCA, we hope.
KUA KIA SOONG is Suaram adviser.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.