KUALA LUMPUR: The Chinese community in Malaysia must reinvent itself to meet the challenges in the changing world and equip itself with a progressive mindset.
MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting called for a broad vision instead of being restrained by old traditions.
“The new environment demands a bold and visionary leadership to take our members and the Chinese community at large to a brave new world.
“The Chinese community must learn to think out of the box, to equip itself with broad vision, to be progressive and far-sighted. “Only then can we face up to the challenges of the new century,” he said in his maiden presidential speech at the 50th annual MCA general assembly here yesterday.
In his speech charting the future direction of the party and the Chinese community, Ong covered a broad outline of topics ranging from education, economic prospects and globalisation to the importance of party unity, excellent leadership and peace.
He said the community needed to keep abreast of changes and to upgrade itself, adding that the world was changing fast and “we can no more rely on yesterday’s answer to tomorrow’s problem.”
On the general election, Ong urged members to gear up for another resounding victory, not only for the MCA but also the Barisan Nasional.
“The MCA won the 1995 and 1999 general elections with overwhelming victory mainly because we are united and stable.”
He said the pragmatic and people-friendly approaches adopted by the party had won the support of not only the Chinese but also the non-Chinese electorates.
“It has to be admitted that the recent leadership struggle had somewhat tarnished our image and dented our integrity. But on the whole, we had not neglected our political struggle and our service to the people.
“We had not wavered on our stand and the major issues affecting the Chinese community as we continued to seek fair and reasonable solutions,” he said, citing issues such as the development of Chinese primary education, shortage of teachers and university recruitments.
Ong said he believed that it was also the aspiration of the community for the MCA to maintain a good relationship with other Chinese-based parties in the coalition, adding that by working with other Barisan parties, it would help defuse or reduce any potential problems.
Ong, who is Housing and Local Government Minister, said the Chinese would spare no effort in helping the Government to strengthen the nation’s economic recovery and promoting growth and development in all sectors of the economy.
He said the RM8.1bil economy recovery package announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 21 was already producing good results.
In addition, he said, the Cabinet committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was also mapping out new strategies to improve the performances in various sectors.
“The Cabinet committee is also working on new strategies to improve the performances of all sectors in the economy, especially in sharpening the competitive edge of the small and medium size (SME) enterprises in the face of globalisation,” he said.
He also advised the SMEs, which were mostly Chinese-based, to optimise their use of the Internet, improve the quality of their goods and services, harness the best production and management technologies and train their workers.
On excellent leadership, Ong said the Chinese community had been supportive of Dr Mahathir and was sad at his decision to step down as Prime Minister in October.
In expressing the community’s whole-hearted support for the well-respected and beloved Abdullah who would be the new Prime Minister and Barisan chairman, Ong said: “MCA has full confidence in Abdullah as a dynamic, far-sighted and moderate leader and one who would continue the vision of Dr Mahathir in building a united and harmonious multi-ethnic Malaysia.”
The delegates gave Dr Mahathir a standing ovation when Ong put in record his contributions to the country and his leadership which received worldwide recognition.
Abdullah also received a similar ovation for his leadership.
Ka Ting also paid tribute to former party president Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik and former deputy president Datuk Seri Lim Ah Lek for relinquishing their party posts to pave the way for younger leaders to take over.
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