THE opinion poll, Whether MCA should quit Barisan Nasional on the personal blog of MCA president Datuk Sri Ong Tee Keat was conducted over a year ago in the aftermath of the political tsunami that swept Malaysia in the last general election, even prior to his election as party president. This was part of the MCA’s ongoing effort to gather public feedback on issues affecting the rakyat, more so after the 8 March general election.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in the MCA president putting up the opinion poll. As a responsible party that listens to the people’s grouses, neither the MCA nor any Barisan Nasional (BN) component party can ill-afford to turn a deaf ear, or behave like the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the ground when in fear, against the reasons that led to voters repudiating the BN.
It should also be pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has already categorised the opinion poll as an academic exercise and has stated that “the MCA has no intention of leaving Barisan Nasional”.
It is inaccurate of any quarter to imply that the opinion poll was meant to assert pressure against Umno to cave in to other BN component parties. It is fatuous for anyone to think that ties between BN component parties can be easily threatened with a simple online poll. Even before Merdeka, the Alliance and then BN have withstood the tests of time. The MCA remains very much committed to the ideals of the Alliance and the BN. The trust between component parties cannot be easily undermined.
It is in the interest of every component party to find out why many poll respondents feel that the MCA should leave the BN. The opinion poll does warrant all BN component parties to comprehend public sentiment and remedy the root causes of the BN’s poor showing. The opinion poll does reveal that the BN does not hold the same favourable grounds with voters as before. Is it because voters appreciate the MCA but reject the BN, or because they accept the BN but reject other component parties?
The MCA is taking pains to change and move forward with the times. The three thrusts of the party’s transformation plan enable the MCA to keep engaging with multiracial Malaysians, seeking a remedy to any issue. The opinion poll’s main intention was to gather input and to feel the rakyat’s pulse. The MCA respects the views and concerns of voters even if they may be unfavourable to the BN. Our party will continuously strive to improve our performance and delivery to the rakyat.
Regretfully, a particular Malay-language newspaper seems to remain stagnated in its old mould of breeding xenophobia against non-Malay [Malaysians] or non-Muslims, thus repulsing more decent-minded Malaysians against the BN, including our traditional supporters.
The media plays an important role in disseminating information to the masses. Unfortunately, a recent commentary in the said Malay-language newspaper borders on provocation, not only between BN component parties, but against the different ethnicities in Malaysia. The issues or challenges raised by the said newspaper or Member of Parliament are created and misdirected.
Lee Wei Kiat
MCA information and communication bureau chief