KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 – MCA must continue with efforts to foster unity among its ranks if it is serious about regaining lost ground in the next general election, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today. Speaking to MCA delegates when opening the party’s 61st Annual General Assembly (AGM) here this morning, Najib, who is the Barisan Nasional chairman said the future and survival of the party rested on its ability to put aside internal differences.
“In order for us (BN) to move forward, we need a strong MCA. And the future of MCA will depend on its determination to unite. If you continue squabbling, the people will get fed up. “Therefore, you must unite and you must close ranks. You will only be stronger if you are together,” he said to a rapturous applause from the delegates in Dewan San Choon at Wisma MCA here.
Najib said the Chinese-based party had had lost its “sense of direction” after its disunited leaders entered an internal power struggle last year. “MCA must find its sense of direction because when you fought (among yourselves), you lost your way,” he said, adding that he was merely reflecting the views of the Chinese community whom he understood had became disillusioned with the party before the new leadership took over its helm.
Najib said BN was not able to field the best MCA candidates to contest in last year’s 13th General Election due to the intense infighting in the party. “Different leaders (in MCA) told me different things. They want me to choose a certain person because he is on their side, and not because he is a winnable candidate. That put me in a difficult position,” he said.
Najib nonetheless said he would throw his full support behind MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in the latter’s mission to rediscover the party’s sense of purpose and direction. He, meanwhile, acknowledged the major role played by the Chinese community and MCA throughout Malaysia’s 57-year history. “The country’s success today can be attributed to the roles played by the Chinese, bumiputeras and other ethnic groups. That is why we must not take for granted the sacrifices of past leaders.
“Our forefathers were the ones who laid the foundations of this country. And they formed the bedrock of this nation through the social contract. The social contract is enshrined in the constitution and it cannot be challenged by anyone,” he said. MCA had performed dismally in the last two general elections, winning only a fraction of the seats it contested. In GE13, MCA only managed to win seven parliamentary and 11 state seats.
Liow, who was then MCA deputy president, subsequently had an altercation with then president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, resulting in a bitter power struggle. The fractious leadership crisis was put to a rest after Liow was elected president in Dec last year along with a new leadership lineup.