MCA and MIC – plan to join the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim?

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Speculation is swirling again that Barisan Nasional component parties, MCA and MIC, are toying with the idea to opt out of the long established national coalition that has governed Malaysia since 1957 due to differing reasons.

Whether they plan to join the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim or choose to stay independent or form a new coalition is not clear yet

Such talk is not new and has blown in and out of the political arena over the past years, largely ignored as few Malaysians believe the pair could ever dare to make a break with the seemingly almighty UMNO – their BN big boss and some say ‘big bully’.

Main grouses still the same: ‘Telur’ the likely ‘gift’ from voters

But now, pared down to their last card and with the next general election due to be held within the next 10 months, the leaders at both MIC and MCA have no choice but to starkly confront the pro and cons of such a move that will surely bring to an end the decades of easy living, special privileges, cushy income and extraordinary benefits.

But if the bigwigs at the two parties fail to act now while there is still some glimmer of hope, they stand to face political extinction. ‘Telur’ which means egg and signifying ZERO may well be the number of seats Malaysian voters will give the MIC and MCA at GE-13 – a final, fatal and perhaps well-deserved lesson for not punching their weight and for putting their vested interests ahead of the people’s.

The main grouse and grievance of the two parties is the increasing dominance and sway that UMNO holds over them that is causing its members to think of other options and alternatives.

MCA was once a cherished bastion of the Chinese community in the country but has now been witnessing a dwindle in the number of their members, and whilst MIC is, more or less, still intact, despite the emergence of Indian splinter groups representing the community, the days of the two BN parties in the governing coalition may be numbered.

MCA’s woes

According to MCA members, the party’s top honcho, Chua Soi Lek has warned and threatened UMNO hardliners that any attempt to implement “hudud” laws in Malaysia will spell the departure of the Chinese-based party from the national coalition for sure.

Chua did not mince his words and party members are of the view that his push for a better deal for MCA and the Chinese community does not seem to have been met by UMNO especially his call for inclusiveness towards a Satu Malaysia concept.

In venting their anger and frustration, MCA members feel that despite decades of loyal support to BN, the Chinese-based party has still not been given due recognition and respect as an important component of BN.

The mounting frustration among MCA members is evident as calls for greater equality and a more important and prominent role by the party in the politics of Malaysia has so far not materialized.

It is largely these factors that a growing number of party members are beginning to discretely review and rethink the role of their party in the BN coalition.

While not openly voicing their intention to opt out of the BN coalition, the option is starting to look promising though the way and manner the party is to go about leaving BN is still yet to be ascertained.

While not a far-fetched option for the party, much will depend on how the situation in the country begins to shape up for the community in a number of key areas such as the business and economic climate and the role of Chinese education, the latter being a tacky, thorny issue within the BN.

MIC’s role in BN

Disclosure has been made by a senior MIC official that Pakatan’s top brass have been making overtures to woo the Indian party into the fold of the opposition. Of course, this could be doublespeak and it is more likely that the MIC has been approaching Pakatan.

While not overtly, MIC officials, just like the MCA leadership, are up in arms over the dominance of UMNO within the coalition and are unable to understand how their voice has begun to get drowned within the government.

While talks are sporadic and on-going, it is still unclear and uncertain if the MIC will take up the offer from PR. Much will depend on what’s in it for them.

While earlier on, MIC, helmed by G. Palanivel, appeared unlikely to give up their role in the BN, they are however now beginning to warm up to the idea.

This is due largely to the treatment accorded to Bersih leader, S. Ambiga, and a number of other recent developments within the community, prompting the MIC to seriously look into what the terms and conditions PR are offering them.

The fact that that they are willing to engage in secret talks are a positive sign and indicator that they may want to jump ship, although like the MCA, the years of their faithfulness and loyalty might cause them to shy away from actually making such a move.

The emerging scenario: Anything can happen

While both MCA and MIC have been firmly entrenched over the decades within BN, the run-up to the 13th GE has caused significant changes to the political landscape of the country and only in the near future will the picture of these two component parties of BN pulling out and aligning themselves to bolster the opposition be able to be gauged with greater accuracy.

UMNO, meanwhile, are greatly aware and watching with keen interest the shadow play that is taking place, and weighing their options and alternatives as well, as to how to shore up and rebuild their power base to the former era when under the presidency of Mahathir Mohammad.

But the winds of change continue to blow across the length and breadth of Malaysia and Malaysians are carefully following and monitoring closely these changes that are taking place as much is at stake for them.

The reason for Malaysian voters following closely these proceeding is because they are of the belief that, as the situation stands in the nation right now, anything can happen as of now. -Malaysia Chronicle