KUALA LUMPUR: The rain certainly doused the raging peat fires in the country but not the rising heat in the upcoming MCA elections.
The pre-dawn downpour, which lasted almost five hours yesterday, did not stop the 2,500 members – mostly grassroots leaders nationwide– from turning out in force for the party’s 56th anniversary celebration at its headquarters here.
A senior leader, who estimated the crowd to be larger than expected, pointed out that Dewan San Choon was packed to the brim and so was the floor above which normally housed observers.
It was a gathering not to be missed.
Many of those present are also potential central delegates who will determine the party’s national leadership on Aug 20.
It was an opportunity for them to hear the latest gossip on the elections – who is contesting what posts while for some, it is a time to test waters for themselves or their bosses.
“Look at his frantic handshake and grin,” said a party observer pointing in the direction of a senior Selangor member who was seen scurrying all over and weaving his way to be seen mingling with party top guns.
The 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations, which ended last Wednesday, did not deter some from wishing each other gong xi, gong xi, pau pau kao xin (congratulations, congratulations, may you get a promotion).
The “campaigning” took a break to make way for the two-hour long celebration which started when president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting arrived at 10am sharp accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Wendy Ong.
By all accounts, the 1.07 million-strong MCA has every reason to celebrate and look forward to more good times. Those present rose as one and clapped to the tune of Tuan jie jiu xer li liang (Unity is strength) rendered by soprano Chuo Ru Yan for the finale of the simple yet meaningful celebration.
Election fever is to be expected, especially since the last big tussle was six years ago, but what is reassuring is that party unity still reigns supreme.