KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Oct 2008: Resolutions passed by the MCA annual general assembly (AGM) this year addressed several controversial issues in the economy, education and religion.
The 55th party AGM called for bold measures in these areas to promote a just, democratic and equitable Malaysian society.
On the economy, the MCA called for the liberalisation of all sectors to encourage rapid economic expansion and to raise national competitiveness. All major macro-economic policies should be revamped towards that end, the party said.
A minimum wage structure for critical sectors like agriculture and the services industry should also be implemented. This would raise income levels and protect low-wage earners from exploitation.
More equitable distribution of wealth would also be achieved with a revamping of mechanisms like the granting of Approved Permits, and of subsidies to ensure the lower-income groups benefit.
On religion, MCA affirmed that Syariah law could not be applied to non-Muslims in line with the Federal Constitution. The party said the civil courts should handle disputes between a non-Muslim spouse and the converted spouse, since the couple was married under civil marriage laws.
On education, the party called for more non-bumiputera candidates with the right calibre and experience to be appointed as vice-chancellors in public universities. This would be in line with a “multiracial spirit” that would help improve universities’ performance.
The teaching of science and mathematics in primary schools should also revert to pupils’ mother tongue. Increasing proficiency in English should be achieved through other methods, and not by using the language to teach other subjects, the party said.
MCA also called for more schools of different streams to be built according to the various communities’ needs, and to stop the differential treatment accorded to fully-aided (national) schools versus partially-aided (vernacular) schools.
On social policies, there was concern about the over-dependency on foreign workers, and the MCA said it should be clearly addressed in a way that does not affect the country’s development needs.
The party also said it was disturbed with the way citizenship was fraudulently obtained by foreigners in Sabah and Sarawak, and urged the government to rectify the problem. The government should also speed up approvals for Permanent Residence and citizenship applications to those who qualified. These procedures should be institutionalised to prevent arbitrariness.
On the law and corruption, the MCA called for a review of the Internal Security Act and a check-and-balance system to monitor its use. It added that the ISA should only be used for terrorism cases.
The party also voiced support for the reforms to be undertaken for the judiciary and the anti-corruption agency.
At the party elections yesterday, Datuk Ong Tee Keat won the presidency, with Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek elected his deputy.