KUALA LUMPUR: A contender for MCA’s No. 2 post has called for the strengthening of the party base in its efforts to reform and rebuild.
“We may have over a million members at the moment, but we are actually ‘obese’,” said Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
“We want lean muscle and good cells, not fat cells,” said Dr Mah, who is a cardiologist by training.
Strengthening MCA’s base, he said, was a major part of the party’s process to reform and rebuild.
In an interview yesterday, he said the one million MCA members should take up lifelong membership to show their commitment to the party.
They only need to pay RM100 for a lifelong membership.
Lifelong members, he said, would be entitled to among others, benefits for their children studying in MCA-related institutions of higher learning like Tunku Abdul Rahman University College and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Describing it as a win-win move, he said this would draw young people to the party.
Dr Mah, who is gunning to be MCA deputy president, gave a glimpse of his vision for the battered party post-general election.
MCA won one parliamentary seat and two state seats out of the 129 seats contested under the Barisan Nasional ticket in GE14.
Saying the party’s defeat is not the end of the world but a catalyst to start over and emerge stronger, he said: “MCA had weathered ups and downs in its long political journey; this time around is no different though we are in the opposition for the first time since independence in 1957.”
Describing himself as an explorer, Dr Mah said he saw the need for “disruptive innovations” to get the party “climbing” again.
“MCA has to re-organise at every stage,” he added.
While the party may be subjected to much ridicule if not attacks by many people, especially its political detractors, Dr Mah said there were young people educated in top-notch universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge applying to join MCA.
“There is also a professor from a top university in China wanting to join us.
“People actually see hope in MCA after GE14. They want to be a part of the party that can do good for the people,” said Dr Mah, who studied medicine in Universiti Malaya and went on to obtain a Masters in Internal Medicine at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
He is now the chief executive officer of Anson Bay Medical Centre in Teluk Intan.
Dr Mah, who joined MCA when he was a medical officer in Alor Setar in 1992, admitted that his childhood dream was to become a politician.
“I like to read books on world famous leaders like Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong, Sun Yat-sen from China and Sir Winston Churchill,” said Dr Mah who started school in SJKC Khuen Hean in Changkat Kruing, Sitiawan, which is his hometown.
He was the Chenderiang assemblyman and Perak executive councillor before GE14.
While MCA may be at its lowest ebb now, Dr Mah said this would be a good point to restart.
“While it is not going to be easy, members and leaders alike have to have the mentality of an effective opposition in a two-party system.
“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
“If you want to walk fast, you walk alone. If you want to go far, you need a team,” said Dr Mah, who has joined forces with presidential candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
Their team is dubbed WeeMah.
Their challengers come from the GanTee team that includes Gan Ping Sieu and Tee Siew Kiong vying for the post of president and deputy president respectively.
Dr Wee is Johor MCA chairman, Dr Mah (Perak MCA chairman), Gan (Kluang MCA chairman) and Tee (Johor MCA deputy chaiman).
Dr Mah said the party has to work very hard to stage a comeback but the Chinese are known for such a spirit.
To regain public support, he said MCA has to be an independent party with a clear stand when articulating issues, especially those with a direct impact on the people.
On the hot topic of whether MCA should stay with or leave Barisan, Dr Mah said there should be a discussion among central delegates before they make a decision during the MCA annual general assembly on Dec 2.
Umno, MCA and MIC formed Alliance that fought and gained independence for the country in 1957.
The coalition changed its name to Barisan Nasional in 1973.
It expanded to include other parties, went on as a 13-party coalition in GE14 but lost its grip on federal power for the first time since independence.
Nine of the parties had left Barisan to date. The remaining ones are Ummo, MCA, MIC and myPPP.
On his campaign trail, Dr Mah said he had visited 170 out of the 188 divisions nationwide where divisional delegates would cast their votes on Nov 4.
Dr Wee, Gan and Bruas MCA Youth chairman Ngoo Teck Keong are in a three-cornered fight for the president’s post; Tee and Dr Mah in a direct fight for the deputy president’s post, nine candidates for the four vice-president posts and 54 candidates for the 25 central committee member posts.