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Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday December 15, 2013 MYT 11:29:33 AM
A LAWYER by training, Gan Ping Sieu is known as a soft spoken but outspoken MCA leader.
At 47 and single, he has earned the reputation as the most eligible bachelor – and the only bachelor – among top party leaders.
His credentials are good and he comes across as a man who has many interests as well.
The British-trained lawyer has a diploma in Islamic Law from the International Islamic University and a Master in law from Universiti Malaya.
Gan, who loves to read, also swims, runs and plays ping-pong, basketball, squash and badminton.
But of late, what is top-most on his mind is to help get the MCA out of the rut after two big electoral defeats in 2008 and in May this year.
Gan who is vying for the president’s post on Dec 21 shared with The Star his plans to get the 64-year-old party out of the doldrums.
Q: What is your vision for the party?
A: We have to bring MCA out of the current predicament first. The unprecedented electoral defeat has clearly shown that all is not well.
As a Barisan Nasional component party, we have failed to address communal issues and Chinese education is one of them.
Secondly, MCA is not seen to be relevant any more when we look at the rest of the social and national issues.
This is not just perception but something that is real and apparent.
Apart from this, MCA is also not seen to be involved in the decision-making process on matters which are of concern to the community in particular and the rakyat in general.
Worse is that MCA, being a major Barisan component party, has many times been caught by surprise over important policies and decisions and this certainly does not augur well for the party.
The way MCA runs politics has made us seem like we are not an equal partner in Barisan and that we are subservient.
Sad to say, this is not just a perception.
We have compromised our autonomy, independence and stand. We are seen as a party of social workers doing things like “fire fighting” and relocation of Chinese schools.
In short, we confused the urgent things with important things.
Q: What are the aspects you need to address to rectify the many weaknesses you have identified and achieve your vision of getting the party out of the rut?
A: We must not run politics as if everything is communal in nature.
Apart from Chinese education and other education-related issues, I would say the rest are of concern to all Malaysians – from corruption, security, health to business and employment.
Besides, MCA has also been seen as not having a very clear stand on many things. Because of that, people cannot relate to what MCA stands for and what is in store for them.
Worse, the party has also been “defending things that cannot be defended” and offering “cold comfort” and this is a vicious cycle.
Q: Every candidate goes in with victory in mind. What is your plan in your first year in office?
A: Travel to the party’s 191 divisions nationwide to instil discipline among our members and make them aware of the battle they have to fight.
Train 3,000 party activists, empower them to rally support on the ground to fight in the next general election. The activists are picked from the 191 divisions and training for them will be continuous.
Q: What do you plan to do in your second and third year in office?
A: Continue what I have started in the first year. And bring back pride and dignity to the party.
Q: How would you like to be judged after completing your three-year-term?
A: MCA and its members can stand tall again. Members are proud to be an MCA member and their work and conduct reflect a party that is worth the support of the people.
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Politics, Gan Ping Sieu
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