Saturday, 22 June 2013

What’s next for MCA? Primaries style candidate selection in Malaysia?

GE 13 showcased MCA’s worst performance in its history with the party contesting in 127 Parliament and state seats combined but lost a total of 108 of them which translates to the party’s failure rate of 85%. For a party with a long history such as MCA, many factors which accumulated over the years contribute to this poor performance.

It has been the norm in Malaysia that the leadership of the party is left on their own to decide which potential candidate should be contesting in which electoral constituency. There is almost none or very minimal public or grassroots members of the party’s participation in selecting a candidate in their constituency.

Thus, even members of the party are often left in dark over who will be the candidate until the very last minute. In most instances, party members roughly know which candidate from their party will be standing at their constituency via speculations among each other, over social media or the press.

In a few cases, disgruntled members of a party will stage protests and in most cases, the members will sabotage the candidate of their own party if the candidate is not to their liking or the candidate has been branded as a parachute candidate. As a result, this often comes at the price of party unity which often jeopardizes the chance of the party’s winning.

Waking up from the aftershock of this disastrous result, MCA members began to call for change. Time has come to rejuvenate our 64 years old party. The New Movement group which initiated the “MCA Change” campaign has identified that, among others, the candidate selection method need to be changed to include the public and grassroots members’ participation. 

Of course the technicalities of such change is still being debated whether it is suitable for the political climate of Malaysia. How it should be implemented, what are the criteria; whether will there be a debate between candidates and etc. can be discussed and determined later on if the party think that this is a good way to select its candidate for the general election.

For MCA to move forward and to reconnect itself with the voters, it can take a cue from the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom where in over 100 constituencies, the party’s candidates were selected at ‘primary meetings’ in which all voters (not just Conservative members) were able to participate. The party also experimented with “postal primaries” in two seats, attracting the participation of up to a quarter of registered voters.

As a MCA member, I hope that the party leadership can recognize the importance of including the grassroots members and members of the public in the candidate selection process for the coming general election to ensure the success of the party.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

My father, the man of honour, integrity and generousity

Ten years ago, on this same morning, on a Father’s Day, I was back in hometown to celebrate this special day with him. I bought him a pot of orchid from the Penang Botanical Garden as a present. That orchid is no longer around but his looming words are still very clear in my mind: “no matter what you do out there, I am not going to interfere with your career choice but always remember to keep the honour of our family, first.”
The ever loving couple, daddy and mummy.
This is my father, a man of few words but all his words are pearls of wisdom that are hard to forget, a firm believer in freedom for his children as long as they do it right, a lovely husband that all women wish to have in a husband, a man with young heart with crisp knowledge of latest technologies and a man of high honour, integrity and generousity.

Daddy, Happy Father’s Day.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

God the Artist

I used to like to recite this poem, God the Artist during my stay in Auckland with the comment that the skills of Captain Cook made us discover Aotearoa but the Hand of God fashioned New Zealand’s magnificent landscape.
I stumbled upon this hidden waterfall near Taupo, Central North Island, New Zealand while driving from Auckland to Napier.

God the Artist by Angela Morgan (1875-1957)

God, when you thought of a pine tree,

 How did you think of a star?

 How did you dream of the Milky Way

 To guide us from afar.

 How did you think of a clean brown pool

 Where flecks of shadows are?

 God, when you thought of a cobweb,

 How did you think of dew?

 How did you know a spider's house

 Had shingles bright and new?

 How did you know the human folk

 Would love them like they do?

 God, when you patterned a bird song,

 Flung on a silver string,

 How did you know the ecstasy

 That crystal call would bring?

 How did you think of a bubbling throat

 And a darling speckled wing?

 God, when you chiseled a raindrop,

 How did you think of a stem,

 Bearing a lovely satin leaf

 To hold the tiny gem?

 How did you know a million drops

 Would deck the morning's hem?

 Why did you mate the moonlit night

 With the honeysuckle vines?

 How did you know Madeira bloom

 Distilled ecstatic wines?

 How did you weave the velvet disk

 Where tangled perfumes are?

 God, when you thought of a pine tree,

 How did you think of a star?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

My fovourite poem by Chairman Mao - Spring in Pleasure Garden 沁园春

With the inscription of this poem: Spring in Pleasure Garden at Shaoshan, Hunan,


毛泽东者, 一九三六年二月


























Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The need for MCA to change, New Movement and I

Politics has always been my passion since small, having being brought up in politically conscious family where my grandfather was one of the community leaders in Teluk Intan. It was from my grandfather that I learned not only importance of unity in the Chinese community but also about helping and giving back to the society.

I joined MCA not by accident or by an act of haste nor for benefit but after having thought about it for more than 3 weeks upon the invitation of Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting through an intermediary. At that time I was a rising star in DAP, holding six national and state level positions. I weighted the pros and cons of such decision for I knew I will be labeled as traitor by DAP and wrote a list of what and how I, myself under the umbrella of MCA can do for the Chinese community and Malaysian as a whole compared to DAP. I finally made my decision that MCA is the only party that can be the platform for my political sojourn, hence joining MCA in January 2004 which made front page headlines in all major newspapers.

I observed the party from sideline. After winning big in the 2004 General Elections, leaders became arrogant and refused to listen to the people and the grass root, local leaders jockeyed for positions and benefits as if there is no tomorrow, factional fighting became fierce, thinking that by the next election, they will benefit even more. Everyone took things for granted. If people were to ask me since when did MCA goes into decline, I would say it is not after the 2008 General Elections but since winning big in 2004. Pride goes before a fall.

My close participation in MCA affairs came again when Hoong Ling, via Facebook invited me to assist her in her fight for PJ Utara which I agreed without second thought not only because I knew her since 1988 but more importantly, I still care for MCA and I took pride in being an MCA member. The campaign was tough. 四面楚歌。The rest is history.

Flipping the newspaper one day post GE 13, I came across MCA Change and New Movement. I was excited that finally there are 6 people, two of which I know, Joe Liaw and Hoong Ling, are calling for change within MCA with its 2+1 action plan. At least there are still people who care and want to revitalize MCA. I was elated.

I agree with what they highlighted in the action plan especially the parts of member’s reregistration and candidate for GE selection criteria. These are the two things that I felt MCA leaders from top to bottom have been self-deceiving all these while. Everyone claimed that they are winnable candidates, everyone claimed to be receiving the support of their own division, and everyone claimed that their division has so and so much numbers of members. When the GE13 results were announced, those that deceive themselves face the tragic truth.

Instead of harping on the past, it is better to move forward and change MCA from within, time to start a new no matter how painful it is. It is now time for MCA members to save MCA and I am glad that New Movement is providing this platform for people like me and others with similar thoughts. I hope I can offer my humblest expertise to assist New Movement in bringing change to MCA. For one person to call for change is hard but when countless individual actions adding up, change will be a reality.

Change in MCA may not be important yesterday but it is inevitable today. Without change, MCA will forever disappear from Malaysia’s political scene like dinosaurs disappear from earth.