KUALA LUMPUR: Unhappiness with Umno for not discussing with MCA in its proposed rebranding of Barisan Nasional, which includes PAS as a new political partner, will be the key point for many of the candidates standing at this weekend’s party elections.
MCA Youth legal bureau chief Ng Kian Nam said the move by Umno, which has not discussed with MCA its proposed rebranding, was a humiliation to MCA and had triggered anger and unhappiness on the ground.
“This is simply humiliating and we are very offended,” said Ng.
While Umno may be the largest component party in Barisan, he pointed out that the coalition, which has practised consensus since it fought and gained independence for the nation in 1957, means that all the component parties have equal say in the coalition.
“We have to accept the fact that the current Barisan has lost its original ideology and spirit, which is to fight for the interest of all races in the country and to uphold the civil democracy system,” said Ng, who is contesting the MCA Youth national chairman’s post this Saturday.
Last Saturday, Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the proposal at the MIC annual general assembly, where PAS top leaders were present.
He also announced Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as the new Barisan secretary-general, who is tasked with the rebranding.
The announcement by Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, has shocked MCA’s top leaders, with deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong reminding Dr Ahmad Zahid that he could not make such unilateral decisions on behalf of Barisan.
“Zahid will be remembered as the person who brought Umno and Barisan to an end, as there is no future for a mono-ethnic political path,” said Dr Wee, who is contesting the presidency in the MCA elections this Sunday.
Lawyer Gan Ping Sieu, who is also vying for the president’s post, described the episode as “yet another classic example of either MCA leaders being kept in the dark or treated contemptuously on matters of such importance”.
“This is neither the first time nor will it be the last time where Umno shows open disrespect for MCA. The move is yet another humiliation for us.
“The grassroots are understandably sore,” said Gan yesterday.
He reiterated that he and his team would bring MCA out of Barisan if they win the upcoming elections, and that MCA is not interested in the Barisan rebranding.
Barisan, which went in as a 13-party coalition to contest the 14th General Election, lost federal power for the first time since independence.
Nine parties left Barisan following the defeat, with the remaining parties comprising Umno, MCA, MIC and myPPP.
With MCA’s rank and file already wary when Umno led MIC to attend the PAS muktamar in September, Dr Ahmad Zahid, in addressing PAS as the new political partner last Saturday, sent shockwaves across MCA.
“The grassroots just cannot understand the rationale where we still have to bear the discontent and ridicule of Barisan’s decisions under Dr Ahmad Zahid’s leadership.
“They demand to know from the incumbent leadership what the hesitation to break away from Barisan is,” Gan said of feedback from the ground.
While MCA Youth’s Nicole Wong Siaw Ting said she was keeping an open mind about the rebranding process and was more than happy to assist Nazri to reach a better consensus, she stressed that MCA would have to leave Barisan if PAS joins the coalition.
“PAS and MCA are fundamentally different. MCA’s core values are based on the Federal Constitution,” said Wong, who is in a direct fight with Ng for the MCA Youth chairman’s post on Saturday.
Dr Wee, Gan and Ngoo Teck Keong are in a three-cornered fight for the president’s post on Sunday.