NAY PYI TAW: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants MCA, which is giving the Bukit Gelugor by-election a miss, to focus on its consolidation efforts to become a strong and respectable partner of Barisan Nasional.
The Prime Minister and Barisan chairman said he understood why MCA decided to stay out of the polls and that it was in the process of consolidating.
“It is important for MCA to continue with the process so that it will become a party with greater respect and strength.
“I hope MCA will continue with its focus to consolidate and strengthen itself as a political party within Barisan,” he told Malaysian media after attending the 24th Asean Summit here.
The MCA announced that it would not be contesting in the May 25 Bukit Gelugor polls, which came about when the parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of its MP Karpal Singh last month.
Asked whether Barisan would throw its support to anyone contesting the polls since the coalition was staying out it, Najib said: “We will see who will be contesting. We will determine if we want to support when the time comes.”
In Kuala Lumpur, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the party’s main task is to strengthen the party and be strong again by the next general election.
For now, he said the party’s priority was to focus on the transformation plan as MCA had yet to recover from its poor showing at last year’s general election.
“We need time to recuperate,” he told reporters after attending a caring and sharing programme organised by the Buddhist Maha Vihara yesterday.
In Ipoh, MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said staying out of the by-election was not an easy decision.
“We had lengthy discussions with grassroots members and Barisan component party leaders as well as assessing the situation on the ground since Karpal’s passing,” he told reporters after opening a Wesak Day and Parents’ Day celebration at SJK(C) Yuh Hua.
Ong said it was, for the moment, better to regroup and improve the party so that it would come back stronger at the next general election.