MAY 31 — MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng are going to hold another debate. To be honest, I personally am not looking forward to it. However, debates are, after all, part of democracy and it is better than having a silly war of words.
The result of the first debate was not as expected and instead the Ms Tow Truck and Mr Righteousness incidents blurred the focus of the debate.
The standards of Malaysian political debaters and the audience should be improved and how should they improve without holding a debate? Democratic countries take political debates seriously with live broadcasting and post-debate polls. I hope that we can have a serious and heavy-weighted debate, too.
In addition to elections, debates have also become another duel platform for the MCA and the DAP.
The two parties have been confronting for decades with lots of hatred and resentment.
Their confrontation started from the fight for Chinese votes. Although the DAP is a multi-racial political party, it has won only in Chinese-majority constituencies over the years. Inevitably, it has to compete with the MCA which claims to have been representing the Chinese.
The DAP attacked the MCA with the vulnerabilities found in the BN’s policies and the MCA’s infighting and scandals have affected the Chinese community’s confidence in it.
The 2008 general election was a watershed for the two parties. The DAP won 28 of the 47 parliamentary seats and 73 of the 101 state seats it contested, surpassing the MCA which won 15 parliamentary seats and 31 state seats. Moreover, the DAP also seized power in Penang. The MCA could criticise the DAP in the past for knowing only to criticise but not turning words into actions. But now, the DAP can show its performance in Penang.
The 2008 general election has brought a brutal reality, namely the MCA can no longer rely merely on Chinese votes and it must be transformed. The MCA should have started to reform right after the general election. However, it wasted a year of time instead due to the outbreak of a party crisis.
After taking office, Chua has been trying hard to restore Chinese support while fighting for non-Chinese votes, such as setting up the 1 MCA Medical Foundation benefiting all races and MCA leaders have also strengthened interactions with non-Chinese.
As for the DAP, while consolidating Chinese support, it has also tried to gain Malay votes. Component parties of Pakatan Rakyat enjoy equal status and if the DAP controls only Chinese votes, it would not be enough for it to defend its status. Therefore, it needs a transformation, too.
The debate tittle “DAP & MCA: Whose Policies Benefit the Community Better?” is in line with the need for transformation of the two parties.
The first debate entitled “Is the two-party system becoming a two-race system?” was targeted at the Chinese community while the target audience of the second debate includes also non-Chinese. Therefore, there is no racial tone in the debate title. Debating on the parties’ policies also suits the current situation. “Whose policies benefit the community better” does not refer only to the Chinese community. The objective of the debate is very clear.
I have visited the websites of the MCA and the DAP and found some similarities between the former’s party constitution and political ideas and the latter’s. However, the DAP has listed a set of policy blueprint.
In the face of the global wave of democratisation and the possibility of an economic crisis, the two parties should make it clear to voters their directions and countermeasures.
The MCA and the DAP must be more mature to enhance the quality of politics. — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.