Is Tan Koon Swan faction instigating UMNO to ask MCA to leave Barisan Nasional as a leverage in MCA power struggle?

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Perak Dinner held at Fong Lim Restaurant, Ipoh on Friday, August 9, 1985 at 8 pm

Is Tan Koon Swan faction instigating UMNO to ask MCA to leave Barisan Nasional as a leverage in MCA power struggle?

With the approach of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting on August 17, called specifically to deal with the PICA crisis as if it is a naughty boy which must be disciplined by the elders for its errant ways, the question that is making the newspaper headlines is whether MCA would be asked to leave Barisan Nasional and rejoin the coalition after it had solved its party crisis.

From the statements by the various Tan Koo Swan MCA faction these few days, such as Tan Koon Wan himself, Lee Kim Sai, Chan Siang Sun, Lew Sip Ho and Lee Jong Ki, it would appear that as far as the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction is concerned, they are not in any manner dismayed by this prospect. On the contrary, they give the impression that they had been waiting for such a development for quite some time.

This gives rise to the question whether the Tan Koon Swan faction had instigated, suggested or least encouraged UMNO to take the stand that unless the MCA power crisis is resolved, the MCA should leave the coalition. Is this the ‘secret weapon’ of the Tan Koon MCA faction to put pressure on the MCA Establishment faction to achieve what the Tan Koon Swan faction calls – its ‘Save MCA Campaign’?

In the 1982 General Elections, the MCA won an unprecedented landslide victory, and the MCAproclaimed that the Malaysian Chinese have demonstrated its confidence and trust in MCA leaders. This was described as a ‘great political breakthrough’ for the Malaysian Chinese. and the MCA pledged to honour its role as the only legitimate champions of the five million Malaysian Chinese in the country.

Forty months later, UMNO is about to carry out the eviction notice issued by Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy UMNO President, Datuk Musa Hitam in December last year, that MCA get out of the Barisan Nasional until it could sort out its party differences.

If the MCA and its leaders, whatever their faction, are sincere and genuine in their profession that they are the legitimate champions of the five million Malaysian Chinese, then the least they should do is to ensure that he integrity, dignity and autonomy of MCA would not be threatened, undermined or emasculated by any other party, even if it is the Big Brother, UMNO.

When faced with a threat coming from UMNO that MCA should leave the Barisan Nasional until it had sorted out its differences, one would have expected both the feuding MCA factions, whether Neo Yee Pan and an Koon Swan, to tell UMNO leaders in one voice that the MCA’s party differences is an internal MCA matter and that UMNO should leave them alone.

This did not happens We see the Tan Koon Swan faction instead waiting eagerly and patiently for the MCA to be thrown out of the coalition believing that this would be a favourable development for the Tan Koon Swan faction in its ‘fight—to—the—death’ with the Neo faction.

The MCA could not be faced with a more dishonourable and shameful situation — to be told that they should leave Barisan Nasional like naughty boys being told by school—teachers to leave the class until they have repented their ways! If under these circumstances, the MCA leaders whatever their faction could not unite, what right have they to go round calling on Chinese to unite under the banner of the MCA?