by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 19th February 1992:
Ting Chew Peh’s reaction to Ghafar’s statement shows that the MCA has become a fully marginalized and parasitical party in Barisan Nasional
The reaction of the MCA Secretary-General, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, to the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, that the MCA should ‘review its image’ as to why it could ‘only get the support of half the Chinese community’ shows that it has become a fully marginalized and parasitical party in the Barisan Nasional.
If the MCA leadership still has political integrity and ‘ethnic self-respect’ (the favourite term of Datuk Lee Kim Sai in the old days), it would never have reacted in so sycophantic a fashion as Ting Chew Peh had done.
What Tiong Chew Peh was in fact saying in his reaction is the following:
1. The MCA leadership is very grateful that Ghafar Baba gave the MCA leadership so much ‘face’ in saying that the MCA had ‘only half the Chinese support’ when in fact, the MCA secured less than 25% Chinese support in the last general elections;
2. The MCA leadership is grateful that the UMNO leadership is continuing to recognise the ‘contributions’ of the MCA in the Barisan Nasional Government – not representing the Chinese to the UMNO leaders, but representing the UMNO to the Chinese community
3. The MCA leadership is grateful that although the MCA has lost all credibility and legitimacy to claim to represent the Chinese, the UMNO leadership still allow them to hold four Ministerial posts, and to retain the other Deputy Ministerial and Parliamentary Secretary positions, as well as the other parks of office and money-making opportunities for MCA leaders.
Only political leaders who have become completely marginalized and reduced to a political parasitical role can feel proud or grateful about these matters.
If the MCA leadership still have political integrity and ‘ethnic self-respect’, they would have reacted to Ghafar Baba’s statement differently.
They would have told Ghafar Baba the following:
1. That in actual fact, the MCA did not get ‘only half the Chinese support’ but even less, only from 20 to 25 per cent in the 1990 general elections.
2. That the MCA’s failure to get a more decent level of Chinese support is not only a rejection on the MCA’s policies but also the policies of the Barisan Nasional Government;
3. That the MCA is in the Barisan Nasional to represent the aspirations and rights of the Chinese to the UMNO leaders, and not to represent UMNO to tell the Chinese in Malaysia what the UMNO leaders want;
4. That the MCA leadership do not feel proud to be in Government with only 20-25 per cent support of the Chinese, and their only rationale to continue to be Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries is to get the Barisan Nasional Government to change its nation-building policies to heed the voice of the 75-80 per cent of the Chinese voters who had supported the DAP and rejected the MCA.
5. That the UMNO leadership should therefore be prepared to modify its policies to make them more acceptable to a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, and to ask for a high-level UMNO-MCA meeting to discuss these great political, economic, educational, cultural, social and religious issues.
Dr. Ting Chew Peh was a commentator of current events before he entered MCA and rise to become MCA Minister. I have no doubt Ting Chew Peh would have written along the vein of my statement in reaction to Ghafar’s statement if he is still a writer on current events today.
But he is now a MCA Minister and MCA Secretary-General, and he talks, thinks and writes differently from the Ting Chew Peh of the past. This is why I say that the atmosphere and culture of MCA has a most debilitating intellectual effect where even Ph.D. holders can be reduced to pre-university intellectual levels in their political arguments.