KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek (picture) has called on the government to take heed of the Sibu by-election result which he described as an “eye-opener” for the Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said the government could no longer hide from the fact that there were issues plaguing the Chinese community that can no longer be swept under the carpet.
“The result of the recently concluded Sibu by-election is an eye opener for the BN to take stock of its weaknesses and to review its approach towards issues, policies and other matters close to the people’s hearts.
“BN must take heed of the by-election result and analyse its implications,” he said in a statement here this evening.
Dr Chua advised the government to listen to the grievances of Chinese voters in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia and ask itself whether the issues confronting the community had been addressed with urgency.
He also said that the MCA, which is a Chinese-based party like SUPP, needed to reform itself in order to remain relevant.
BN saw its first by-election loss in East Malaysia during yesterday’s polls in Sibu when SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew polled 18,447 votes against DAP Wong Ho Leng’s 18,845 votes.
DAP’s victory margin was a narrow 398 votes.
Independent Narawi Haron polled 232 votes.
When contacted, MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said one of the reasons behind BN’s loss was the DAP’s fervent use of controversial issues like the Allah and Al-Kitab rows.
“They used a lot of tactics that actually worked to instigate the people, pushing them to vote against the BN and making them angry,” he said.
Kong said the BN needed to come up with a solid plan on how to recapture Chinese support.
The decline in Chinese support for the BN was mirrored in both the Sibu and previous Hulu Selangor by-elections.
In Hulu Selangor, only 28 per cent of the Chinese who voted had chosen BN while in Sibu, the DAP has claimed to have secured about 70 per cent of Chinese support.
The Chinese make up more than half of the electorate in Sibu.
“We need to see if their (the Chinese community) main concerns were local issues or were they were just swept up by the opposition’s ploys,” said Kong.
He hit out at DAP for continuously raising the Allah issue as means to garner support and lambasted PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat for allowing the word “Allah” to be used to gain political mileage.
“This clearly indicates that whatever DAP had stated regarding the Allah issue is just for their political gains,” he said in a statement.
He added that the MCA had also been clear on its stand that all non-Muslims could use the word “Allah” as provided in the Federal Constitution which stipulates that everyone had the right to practice his own religion.
“MCA also opines we must deal with the terminology usage in a mild, rational and tacit manner, including conducting more inter-religious dialogues to resolve the issue.
“DAP however does not seem to be interested in solving the issue harmoniously. Instead, they raise the same issue repeatedly among our people to score votes,” said Kong.