KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA will always remember the contributions the late Tun Ghafar Baba made to the nation and the party, said party president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.
We will always remember his contributions forever. The MCA is deeply indebted to him.
When the MCA had an internal crisis, he was one of the leaders who came to its aid, the Housing and Local Government Minister told reporters after paying his last respects to the former deputy prime minister.
Ghafar had acted as a mediator to resolve MCAs 14-month leadership crisis between Datuk Neo Yee Pan and Tan Koon Swan from 1984 to 1985.
During that period, Ghafar was even dubbed temporary president for the MCA.
Ong said the former deputy prime minister was a role model to all Malaysians and was always very close to the grassroots.
He said MCA would always appreciate his involvement, especially as the deputy prime minister and deputy Barisan Nasional chairman.
Among those who accompanied Ong and his wife, Datin Seri Wendy, to pay their last respects at the National Mosque were party deputy president Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, vice-president Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn, national organising secretary Datuk Hon Choon Kim and central committee members Datuk Tan Chai Ho and Yew Teong Lock.
Earlier in Taiping, Chan said: Ghafar had served for a long time as Barisan Nasional secretary-general and he served well especially in the development of rural areas.
Former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik said Ghafars contributions to Malaysian politics were immense as he was also the bridge between Umno and MCA.
Dr Ling said that every Feb 18 MCA leaders and members would celebrate the former deputy prime minister's birthday.
When he was hospitalised at Gleneagles recently, I went to the hospital with an MCA delegation and we celebrated his birthday there, he said.