On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Close ranks once issue is resolved

Although politicians must be prepared for such robust
campaigning, they must remember that this is neither a party election nor a
general election. It is an internal matter; the “enemy'' is not the
Opposition. It is merely two sides in the party with sharp differences over how
the controversy should be resolved.

Dissenting views are part of democracy and should be tolerated. Similarly, no
one should forget the question of party discipline. In any organisation, once a
decision is taken, it must be respected even if we don't like it. Equally
important is the need to protect party dignity and integrity without allowing
the party's image to be tarnished.

The enemies of the MCA must not be allowed to exploit the differences within
the party. Once the decision is announced today, every effort must be made by
all levels of the party to unite. Without doubt, there will be lingering
mistrust and unhappiness but time heals all wounds.

There are no victors and losers in this matter. The delegates have been asked to
decide only on one issue – whether to support or reject the takeover of Nanyang
Siang Pau and China Press.

As such, party leaders must not think of a witchhunt once the EGM is over. They
should not be talking of sacking or isolating anyone. Such talk will only play
into the hands of the party's political enemies.

Party leaders may have opposing views on the Nanyang issue but no one can argue
about preserving party unity.

The struggle to achieve the aspirations of the Chinese community is the agenda
of MCA members. Irrespective of whether the acquisition will be accepted or
rejected, they must now work together if they are sincere about serving the

There are urgent tasks ahead for the MCA, including forging closer ties with
the Chinese guilds and associations. These institutions are an integral part of
the community and have an important link with the party.

These Chinese groups must realise that the MCA is a part of the ruling
coalition and that it is the second strongest party in Barisan Nasional.

Chinese groups, with links to Suqiu (the Malaysian Elections Appeals
Committee), cannot be served by joining hands with the reformasi group or the

The Chinese community has always been practical and realistic. The guilds, if
they believe that they represent the community, must be equally realistic. MCA
leaders have proven their mettle by standing for elections in Chinese-majority

Multi-racial parties like Gerakan and the DAP are now claiming they represent
the Chinese community because it suits them. Non-government organisations are
also saying they speak for the community.

A Chinese social science lecturer, who campaign for PAS, has been introduced by
the Islamist party as “a Chinese community leader.''

But the bottom line is that the MCA has never made any apologies for its role
in safeguarding the community's interest.

The party has been criticised numerous times in the nation's history but its
track record speaks for itself.
From securing citizenship for the community to setting up Tunku Abdul
Rahman College to the Langkawi Project, the focus of the MCA has been

The community understands that when they have a problem, they turn to the
Public Complaints and Services Department at the MCA headquarters for help
because they know that help is available.

There will always be critics but few doers. Those who work will make mistakes
and be faulted by others. Those who don't work will never make mistakes.

Except for the MCA, no other parties or groups have the capability to mobilise
the community for any project.

Today, the party is under siege because of one issue.

Despite the bitter differences, the MCA has proven that it practices democracy
and the EGM is evidence of this.