KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — MCA’s negative public image may have been avoided if the party had stayed out of the Cabinet following its dismal performance in the last general elections, its former president Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
The former health minister reportedly said that the ethnic Chinese community would have not regarded the party with such disdain had they done so.
“I think if MCA had insisted on staying out of the Cabinet, we would have more room to manoeuvre,” Dr Chua was quoted by The Malaysian Insight portal.
Dr Chua had led the party during the last general elections in 2013, and had declared the party would quit the Cabinet if they performed worse than the 2008 polls.
The party later won only seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, which saw its leaders resigning from all Cabinet and senior government positions.
But at an Extraordinary General Meeting in February 2014, MCA under the leadership of Dr Chua’s successor Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai voted overwhelmingly to accept all government posts, including as ministers.
In June that year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced six new ministers and deputy ministers, with five of them from MCA — including Liow who was appointed transport minister.
Dr Chua was quoted saying he stood by his decision to keep MCA out of the Cabinet, even though it had been part of it since Independence, pointing out the public had shown they did not want the party in the federal government through the past two general elections.
“If we had stayed out, then our political situation would be different today. Now the people blame MCA for everything because MCA is part of the government,” Dr Chua was quoted saying.
Dr Chua then took a swipe at the current MCA leadership for its poor performance on critical current issues, saying the party showed neither courage nor political wisdom.
“This had led the community to disrespect MCA. If the party did not rejoin the Cabinet back then, then we would have more room to express our opinions on current issues.
“Even if MCA is part of the Cabinet, the party should still have the courage to give differing opinions as it is a Barisan Nasional component party, but this does not seem to be the case,” the former Labis MP was quoted saying.