MCA should stay in BN but expel Umno for breach of agreement

MCA cannot afford to remain in Umno’s shadows. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
MCA cannot afford to remain in Umno’s shadows. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PETALING JAYA, Nov 29 — MCA is expected to pass a resolution to remain in Barisan Nasional during its general assembly on Sunday as the changing political landscape may not be conducive to the party going independent.

Abandoned by the community it claims to represent, MCA is struggling to remain politically relevant within the confines of the coalition that it built with Umno and MIC.

The flux in the political landscape has usurped MCA from its previous primacy.

To revive, MCA should consider the expulsion of Umno from the former ruling coalition. The Malay nationalist party has overtly approached outsiders in its bid for survival, including seeking cooperation with former rivals using the Malay-Muslim platform.

Umno remains the single largest Opposition party as it still has 48 MPs and controls the state governments of Pahang and Perlis. Yet it is without direction and appears intent only on pursuing its unrequited love for PAS.

It has been surreptitiously pursuing the Islamists since before the general election but went into full-blown courtship after losing the general election with the rest of BN.

While BN operates on a strict consensus system, Umno has repeatedly reached out unsuccessfully to PAS for cooperation, each time without discussing first with remaining partners MCA and MIC.

The three are the only components remaining of the 13-member coalition that was BN.

With Umno still desperately coming to terms with its new place in the Opposition, no party is the clear leader of the bench despite the Malay nationalist party’s numerical superiority.

Within BN, MCA is entitled to raise Umno’s failures to observe the coalition’s spirit when the Chinese-based party convenes its assembly this Sunday.

Umno’s belligerence despite its own trespasses should make the choice easier for MCA.

As it stands, MCA cannot afford to remain in Umno’s shadows. The party is derided by the Chinese community and has been supplanted by DAP that is seen as equal to, rather than subservient towards, the other Pakatan Harapan parties including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s PPBM and the larger PKR.

MCA has long been viewed as a lackey to Umno, which had dictated terms to BN prior to its electoral collapse on May 9 this year.

Whether this is a matter of perception or reality no longer matters; politics is largely about appearances and this is how the public sees MCA.

With new leaders at the helm, MCA could now seek to revive BN with just MIC.

This way, it can at least leverage the coalition’s six decades of contribution to the country minus the baggage that is Umno.

It must be remembered that MCA was once a political giant that had played a key role in guiding the country after Independence, giving the Chinese community then its voice in the government.

However, the party’s role now has changed significantly and so must its proposition to the Chinese community. How this will play out depends on what it chooses to do this Sunday: keep the status quo or strike out into uncharted territory.

The party has long toyed with the idea of departing from BN, but was always held back by the fact that the coalition then still held the reins to the country.

But with just one federal seat left in its stable and its popular support continuing to dwindle, the party now has virtually nothing left to lose.

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