The curtain has fallen on the MCA party elections, with incumbent deputy president Wee Ka Siong defeating his opponents Gan Ping Sieu and Ngoo Teck Keong to ascend to the top.
Wee’s camp was also making significant advances in the race for other party positions. Mah Hang Soon was elected the new deputy president while Lim Ban Hong, Tan Teik Cheng, Ti Lian Ker and Yew Teong Look were elected VPs.
The results herald the advent of the new “Wee-Mah” era, but as the new leadership is basking in the euphoria of victory, what lies before them is a very tortuous and difficult path of rebuilding the party.
The 2008 general elections were an important watershed in Malaysian politics, as it witnessed the gradual decline of MCA and BN from that point onward. MCA, in particular, has been experiencing a dramatic shrinkage in its political influences.
In the 2013 elections, the party only managed to win seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, dwindling further to a single parliamentary and two state seats in this year’s elections.
MCA is finding itself at the crossroads. The party must rethink its future direction and implement the necessary changes to adapt to the new environment.
As such, its first party elections after GE14 naturally fall into public limelight. The outcome of the party elections will determine MCA’s future direction and destiny.
This is the first time MCA has adopted the expanded representation system in picking its new leadership. Now that party members have decided to put Wee Ka Siong and Mah Hang Soon at the helm, all eyes are now on them as to how they are going to take the party forward.
Even though Wee’s camp has scored an impressive victory in the just concluded party elections, after the dust has settled, the new leadership will have to start fixing the internal factional problems, as evidenced by the vicious attacks occurring during the recent party elections. Uniting the party again is the number one task the new leadership has to embark on.
That said, MCA’s biggest challenge is to win back the lost confidence of Malaysians. According to the polls, almost 95% of Chinese Malaysians voted for Pakatan Harapan in GE14, meaning MCA has lost the support of overwhelming majority of Chinese voters. This is without the slightest doubt a very major setback for a predominantly Chinese political party.
The new MCA leadership must decisively introduce pragmatic reforms to win back the trust of Chinese Malaysians.
As a matter of fact, the party has persistently said it would reform and reinvent itself but has unfortunately not put in enough effort to win the hearts of voters.
The Malaysian politics has delivered itself out of the age of BN monopoly into an arena of stiff competition. Old political tactics and strategies are no longer applicable today.
MCA must decide which way it is headed to, and this includes a decision on its position in BN.