KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — MCA is focusing on its survival and will no longer be apologists for Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin Umno, said the Chinese-based party's deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.
Wee said MCA has shed all its political ties following the 14th general election May 9 (509) and was no longer bound by the BN spirit to help shoulder Umno's mistakes.
“Everyone's cooperation ended on the day of 509; in the past we faced too many criticisms and grievances, from now on (we) will no longer bear the brunt for Umno,” he was quoted saying in an interview with local daily Sin Chew Daily.
“MCA now decides for itself, should no longer live for others, no longer coordinate with Umno,” added Wee, who is now heading a new MCA reform committee that will explore matters such as opening up its membership to the non-Chinese.
Asked to say MCA was not then officially exiting BN, Wee responded by saying it was of no significance as the coalition was now just a ghost of its former self.
“Is this still important? After 509, Barisan Nasional was utterly defeated, it has ceased to exist except in name.”
When asked about how MCA could redeem itself without quitting BN, Wee said the party could now choose to not back Umno unlike in the past when it had been part of the federal government.
“We will use our actions to prove. Today MCA has become an opposition party and is no longer the government, don't have to support government matters anymore, is no longer constrained by the party whip system, MCA no longer has an obligation to side with Umno.
“In the future in Parliament, if Umno proposes something that completely doesn't match with what MCA wants, MCA does not have to give it any support,” he said in his first interview after GE14.
In dissecting MCA's disastrous outing in GE14, Wee said the party's worst-ever defeat could be attributed to several factors, including the lopsided leadership structure in BN where Umno was the mainstay party and MCA was perceived as subservient.
He said MCA could only discuss matters including 1MDB in Cabinet due to the BN’s spirit of consensus and could not disclose these afterwards, saying this caused the party's defeat.
“For the past decades where MCA was always the ruling party, always supporting the allies, if there's anything, it will be discussed internally, this system caused us to collectively bear the responsibility,” he said, noting that MCA had raised its views in the two Cabinet discussions on 1MDB but was unable to disclose it.
Wee is the only one in MCA to have won a parliamentary seat in GE14, during which the party recorded its worst-ever performance with only his win and two state seats.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Liow Tiong Lai has said he would not seek re-election in the party polls that will be held this year.
Wee said he has been encouraged by many to contest for the MCA presidency and is willing to take on such a responsibility to join the polls, adding that he would have asked another person to contest if there was a younger MCA leader who also won a parliamentary seat.
“MCA have to adjust to this new environment, MCA can no longer say it represents the Chinese, because we are no longer in government, MCA's future position can only be said to represent MCA members,” he said, adding that there was a need for the party to go lean and no longer talk about how many members it had.
In a separate report by local daily The Star, Wee said MCA will focus on reforming the party.
“Our party is now our priority and not the coalition like it was before.
“There is no more political baggage. In the past there was no room to say 'no' or you would be deemed as going against the coalition's whip,” he said.