KOTA BARU: The top two new leaders in MCA are able to strike a consensus very fast because both share the same vision in many issues, party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said.
He pointed out that his close relationship with his deputy Datuk Chan Kong Choy went back more than 20 years ago and not May 23 this year when they were promoted to their present posts.
“Both of us started from the grassroots and have been co-operating for over two decades.
“We did not start from May 23,” Ong, 47, said, referring to his joint mission with Chan, 48, to unite the party after they replaced Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Lim Ah Lek respectively for the party posts.
Ong stressed that co-operation from the rest of the leaders was also important for them to form a team to forge ahead.
“We (Ong and Chan) need the rest to stand behind us to resolve issues affecting the Chinese community and secure a brighter future together,” he said when opening the Kelantan MCA convention here yesterday.
Ong said he and Chan had been going around the country to emphasise the importance of co-operation and unity after the change in the party leadership.
He advised members to “purge” all past unhappiness because harbouring them could possibly lead to another eruption in future.
Ong said this could be done if a person felt that he was doing it not for himself or anybody but for the party, community and nation.
He said the Chinese were talented and competent in doing business and could establish something from nothing.
However, such good traits could even bring about greater accomplishment if the community became more united and co-operative.
In jest, Ong said a Chinese might lose to a Japanese if the competition was on a one-to-one basis.
But when three Chinese and three Japanese faced each other, the Chinese would definitely lose out simply because they would start fighting one another before the competition took off, he said.
On a more serious note, he said MCA leaders must be united and show their sincerity in helping to resolve Chinese community issues before they could gain their support in the general election.
“The community is not asking for 100 marks from us but they must see our hard work and sincerity, particular on matters concerning education,” he pointed out.
In Kuala Terengganu, Ong said he and Chan were set to be prime examples for other leaders in their efforts to defuse past problems and forge party unity.
“This is one thing (being good examples) that we must do before we ask the ranks to unite,” he added.
Ong said he and Chan shared a very good rapport since May 23.
“One night, he (Chan) came to my house at 10.30pm to discuss how to improve the party and our discussion lasted until 1.30am.
“We sure can work together and can be relied upon to secure a brighter future for the party, community and nation,” Ong said, when opening the Terengganu MCA convention.
Ong, who is also Housing and Local Government Minister, said MCA would help the Chinese face the challenges of the 21st century, including providing affordable tertiary education opportunities to groom and prepare the young to compete effectively in the economic sector.
Education and economy were two main concerns among the Chinese, he said, adding that Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s first student intake of about 400 had jumped to 3,700 this year.
Ong said he expected the intake to keep going up.
On the economy and rapid globalisation, he said the community must learn from the mistakes of a neighbouring country which faced serious economic slowdown after enjoying a few decades of rapid development.
This country was relying on the West in its economy and thus started to fall badly following the 1997 economic downturn, Sept 11 incident and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), Ong said, adding that big companies were shifting out from there.
“We (Malaysians) must unite and see how to turn a crisis into opportunities,” he said.
Ong reminded the Chinese community that hard work and family business which had given birth to some tycoons in the past would not be enough in an era of rapid economic changes and globalisation.
He said China was a big economic power in this new era and multi-lingual Malaysians would have an edge in the competition for business globally.