Turning 70 with renewed hope


MCA members carrying the Jalur Gemilang and party flag as (far right) Dr Wee, MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon and MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun look on. At far left are former deputy president Tun Michael Chen and former president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

THREE generations gathered at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to mark the party’s 70th anniversary.

Like any important milestone, it was a time for reflection as well.

MCA was set up on Feb 27, 1949, as a welfare body before becoming a political party in 1951.

Less than a year ago, MCA became an Opposition party after six decades in the ruling coalition, first as a member of the Alliance and later, Barisan Nasional.

(From fifth right) Dr Wee, former president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Chew, former MCA president Tun Tan Siew Sin’s daughter Datin Paduka Tan Siok Choo, former deputy president Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek and former secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan at the 70th anniversary celebration in Wisma MCA.
(From fifth right) Dr Wee, former president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Chew, former MCA president Tun Tan Siew Sin’s daughter Datin Paduka Tan Siok Choo, former deputy president Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek and former secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan at the 70th anniversary celebration in Wisma MCA.

While it was not a change that was welcomed, the party took heart that the defeat in the 14th general election did not wipe it out from the political arena altogether.

Party president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong won the Ayer Hitam seat and is now the party’s sole MP in Parliament.

A dance performance at the 70th anniversary celebration.
A dance performance at the 70th anniversary celebration.

He said the present generation would continue the journey no matter what to emphasise that their predecessors did not sacrifice in vain, especially in the early years.

In his speech when opening the celebration, Dr Wee singled out the turbulent era of the 1940s and 1950s when MCA leaders and members risked their lives for the country.

Dr Wee (centre) flanked by MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (left) and MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (right) arriving for the celebration.
Dr Wee (centre) flanked by MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (left) and MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (right) arriving for the celebration.

They fought the communists, Malay extremists and negotiated with the British colonial government to stop the mass deportation of half a million Chinese in then Malaya and helped them resettle in new villages.

MCA’s founding president Tun Tan Cheng Lock almost lost his life in a hand grenade attack, pointed out Dr Wee,

MCA members getting ready for the anniversary celebration at the party headquarters.
MCA members getting ready for the anniversary celebration at the party headquarters.

The party would continue to draw inspiration from its past struggles, success and failures and soldier on.

Quoting from Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said: “This is the spring of hope, but also the winter of despair”.

She said having a positive mindset was important especially during trying times.

The upbeat mood of members at the celebration augurs well for the party’s future.

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