KUALA LUMPUR: The 41st MCA Youth general assembly was shrouded with concerns and reservations over the question of age, as delegates raised the matter along with other issues at their annual gathering here, yesterday.
Selangor delegate Wong Yau Thoon remarked that if the age limit to be a member is reduced from 45 to 40 years, half the people attending the assembly would have to step out.
A delegate from Kedah, Lo Thiang Chooi, said the problem of an ageing movement was due to the overstaying of some leaders.
Sometimes we submit a list of new members, but it takes ages to get approval. How can we not have an ageing MCA Youth? he asked, drawing loud applause from the floor.
Voon Jou Long, a delegate from Negri Sembilan, said there was no point setting an age limit if the young and the professionals are not given a chance to perform.
A delegate from Pahang suggested that the movement organise talks and seminars to introduce the history and objectives of the party to young people so that they would understand the party better and why they should join it.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Ong Tee Keat told the assembly that the age issue was not new and had been raised before in the late 90s.
However, he said, due to some technical fault, the issue was aborted.
He added that it was now being raised again to rejuvenate the movement as well as to meet the stipulations in the proposed Youth Organisations Act.
There is no conclusion yet to the issue, he said, assuring the delegates that their worries were being noted.
Loh Seng Kok, one of the movements secretaries-general, said even if the constitution was amended to provide for the age limit, there should be a transitional period to allow more young blood to be enrolled.
Another popular topic among the delegates concerned the MCAs lifelong learning campaign, which received an overwhelming response and support.
Liow Tiong Lai, the other secretary-general of the movement, said MCA Youth would fully co-operate with the parent body on the campaign.
Delegate Chai Kok Lim from Cameron Highlands said Chinese farmers had been sidelined and hoped the movement could act as a bridge with the relevant authorities to get appropriate assistance.
Every month the local demand for cabbage reaches 5,000 tonnes per month but we only produce 3,000 tonnes.
Not because we cannot meet the demand, its due to the AP (approved permit) to import cabbage from Indonesia especially when it experiences a glut, he said.