MCA warned Umno members today to be careful in their speeches and conduct so as not to stir non-Malay anger, saying that Chinese voters will not return to Barisan Nasional if Umno's leaders championed a particular race.
"This situation will affect or destroy BN's future," outgoing youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong said in his speech at the MCA Youth annual general assembly, ahead of the wing’s polls today.
In the aftermath of the May national polls, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had blamed BN's poor showing on the "Chinese tsunami", saying that he had not expected the wholesale abandonment by the Chinese community.
He also blamed Pakatan Rakyat’s alleged play on racial sentiments to woo support from the country’s second largest ethnic group.
Najib's assessment was then taken up by other Umno leaders.
At the 13th general election, Umno emerged the biggest winner within BN, with 88 out of the 133 federal seats the ruling pact managed to retain.
Chinese-based MCA, its senior coalition partner, fared the worst. The party ended up with only seven parliamentary and 11 state seats, down from the 15 federal and 32 state seats it had in 2008.
Two days after the polls, Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia published on its front page an article titled “Apa Lagi Cina Mahu” (What more do the Chinese want), and ran editorials accusing the community of undermining Malay political power, despite being given opportunities by the government to earn their riches.
Political analysts, however, said Pakatan Rakyat made inroads not only with the Chinese ground but also into Malay areas, particularly urban seats.
Former New Straits Times editor Datuk A. Kadir Jasin had asked in his blog: “Is it not possible that this was not a ‘Chinese tsunami’ or racial chauvinism, but a Malaysian tsunami based on new realities and aspirations of the young?”
Wee said a government that wants to win over the people has to serve the interests of all instead of those of a single race.
"The government needs to put the needs of the people first and not come up with policies based on the interest of one race or punishing another race, whether intentionally or unintentionally, especially towards the Chinese," he said.
Wee warned that the Chinese community will not take such treatment lying down and MCA too would oppose it.
"Although the Chinese is suspicious of MCA, MCA will continue to fight for their interest as well as the interest of other races," he said.
He called on members to show to the people that the party, which had been racked by infighting in recent years, can unite and forge ahead and be relevant again by transforming itself with concrete actions.
One of the ways, he said, is to make the 64-year-old party "younger" by introducing fresh faces to get the support of the youth. – December 19, 2013.