KUALA LUMPUR: MCA’s immediate past president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai couldn’t help shedding tears as he spoke at the MCA 65th annual general assembly’s opening.
In particular, he was overcome with emotion as he reminisced on his journey with the party he joined more than three decades ago.
“I joined MCA upon graduating,” said Liow.
“To this day, I have no regrets. I am no different from you and all members who have sacrificed their youth and their prime for MCA – for no reason other than the belief that MCA is a party worthy of a lifetime’s sacrifice, the belief that MCA is the only shelter for the Chinese and the belief that MCA will fight to the end, never once giving up, for a better Malaysia,” he said.
Liow said this would be the last time he would be speaking on stage at the party’s annual general assembly.
“I would like to thank my mentors; you have provided me with the opportunity. I would like to thank all comrades who have supported me. You gave me the energy to surge forward.
“I would like to thank all friends who have criticised me before; you reminded me to self-monitor and self-improve,” said Liow, wiping away tears.
“I am particularly thankful to all comrades and MCA. Without you, Liow Tiong Lai would have been a nobody,” he said, singling out his former boss and MCA veteran Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek.
“I urge all comrades to fully support our new president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. We have no room for disunity nor to retreat. We can only strive forward in unity.
“Together, let us make MCA great again, and bring MCA back to the political mainstream to continue our fight for the race and nation,” a teary-eyed Liow beckoned, receiving a standing ovation from over 1,600 delegates at the San Choon Hall in Wisma MCA.
Liow reminded the Chinese community: “When you realise that nobody in the ruling coalition is taking Chinese rights and dignity seriously anymore, please do not forget, you still have MCA! The community may have abandoned MCA, but we cannot bear to see a vacuum exist as far as protection of the rights of the Chinese community is concerned – or our future generation will have no one to turn to.
“MCA, as a race-based Chinese party has consistently undertaken a multiracial approach since day one. Our founding mission and ideology are very simple and clear – we safeguard the rights of the Chinese while joining hands with our partner parties to build the nation,” he said.
“For 60 years, we actively executed our role in facilitating racial harmony and pushing for national development. MCA is the guardian for multiracial moderate politics.
“And our firmness in defending diversity and moderation is second to none when compared with all other political parties,” he added, citing the party’s opposition to the proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).
Liow also took a swipe at DAP.
“We strongly condemn the DAP in government today, which has repeatedly gone back on its election promises.
“It exhorted no more segregation between the bumiputra from the non-bumiputra and it now stands for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bumiputra agenda,” he said.
“It criticised the RM50mil SJKC development grant as being too little, but their grant today remains at the very same figure; it opposed the national car but strongly supports Dr Mahathir’s third national car project; it questioned the reduction from RM60mil to RM30mil in matching grant for operating expenses to TAR UC but it is zero under the Pakatan government, providing only a RM5.5mil development grant.
“And DAP lawmakers keep mum or disappear. It said it would listen to the people but when the majority of the rakyat is against the abolition of the death penalty, it goes all out to argue for the government’s decision to scrap capital punishment,” Liow added.
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