KUALA LUMPUR: Stricter conditions will be imposed on MCA candidates who wish to contest in the next general election, said party president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The candidates, said Dr Wee, must be trilingual in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and English, and able to articulate their views clearly – whether in Parliament, on the street or on television.
Candidates, he added, must also have an attitude for good service and be approachable.
With the majority of voters in the 15th General Election expected to be fence-sitters, he said these conditions underscored the need to convince and win them over.
In his opening speech at the party’s 66th annual general meeting (AGM) here yesterday, Dr Wee told central delegates that the next general election would be an extremely hard fought one and that every vote would matter.
“If we remain unchanged, we will only be eliminated by the changing times, ” he said.
Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP, is the party’s only parliamentary representative to win in the general election last year.
MCA had 31 MPs from the general election in 2004 before this went down to 15 in the 2008 election and then seven in the 2013 polls.
The party won the Tanjung Piai by-election last month when its candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng defeated Pakatan Harapan’s candidate Karmaine Sardini by a 15,086-vote majority.
Jeck Seng, who contested under Barisan Nasional, had lost the seat to Pakatan by 524 votes in the 14th General Election, getting 32% of the Chinese votes.
However, this went up to 67% in the Tanjung Piai polls and Pakatan, which had banked on DAP to bring in the Chinese votes, saw its Chinese support plunge by half – from 68% in GE14 to 33% this round.
Dr Wee said this showed that voters now dared to change.
“We should no longer regard votes from any ethnic group as the ‘fixed deposit’ of a certain political party, ” he said, adding that MCA must not take the support for granted.
“Voters are bold enough to switch sides after the last election. There is no such thing as safe deposit votes.
“They may support you this time but it does not mean they will support you next round.”
Dr Wee said the Opposition must be able to translate the people’s grievances into support in the form of votes instead of just banking on the people’s unhappiness with the government.
“Providing a solution to the people’s grievances is among the most effective way of persuading fence-sitter voters who will make up the majority of voters in the next general election, ” he said.
Dr Wee said the landslide victory in Tanjung Piai showed the spirit of Barisan was the most important value and principle.