MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said it was time to let Sabahans manage their own party affairs, just like him passing the baton to Lu Yen Tung to be Sabah MCA chairman earlier this year.
"With this, Sabah MCA can manage its administrative matters on its own while we on the federal side will assist financially and give the support needed to run the 25 divisions," he said when opening the Sabah MCA convention here on Sunday (Sept 29).
He said they would also allow Sabah to study, and if needed, work with other local parties for some sort of collaboration to prepare for the next general election.
Wee said MCA cannot work alone but needs to operate as a team if they want to emerge as strong players in politics.
"The political landscape has changed and we cannot depend on a single race," he said, adding that partner parties need to be those that have similar aspirations as MCA.
On that note, he said MCA will also reopen its doors to allow affiliate or associate members consisting of non-Chinese or those of mixed racial parentage to join.
"As affiliate or associate members, they can participate in our activities and share thoughts as well as views on how to improve the party," he said.
He said the party was also considering lowering the membership age from 18 to 16, as the new government has lowered the voting age to 18 recently.
He also hoped that with the many changes already made and in the works, the party can produce capable leaders and see more MCA members becoming assemblymen and MPs.
Earlier in the convention, state MCA chairman Lu Yen Tung, who was appointed on January 7, said the Chinese population in Sabah was only about seven to eight per cent.
"How are we as MCA members and representatives of our community able to work and make sure that our voices and concerns are heard in this new government?" he asked.
He said changes needed to be made in view of the ever-changing political landscape and to regain public confidence following various accusations including the 1MDB scandal that Barisan Nasional was said to be involved in.
"We have had a hard time getting our heads up after all these but now, we need to re-emerge stronger than ever because if we are weak, we are nothing," Lu said.
He said as the opposition now, MCA will be a check and balance to the government but will not act without basis.
"We will talk sense and voice out what truly concerns the people, instead of making false accusations and even cursing our opponents down to their future generations, just like what we had to go through prior to GE14," he said.
Lu also said for the Tanjung Piai by-election, MCA Sabah will give their full support to whoever may be the candidate for Barisan.