How will MCA fare in the 13th General Election? -Lee Hwa Beng

11 April, 2013

by Lee Hwa Beng

In the last general election, the MCA fielded candidates in 40 parliamentary seats but won only 15 and lost the remaining 25 seats to the opposition in the political tsunami. This was by far the worst result ever for the MCA.

Will the MCA be able to retain and perhaps increase the existing 15 seats, or will its position be further weakened?

Two years ago, MCA president Chua Soi Lek announced that the MCA will not accept any Cabinet positions if the party obtains fewer than the existing 15 seats. This statement was made nearly two years ago when he first became MCA president but has not been repeated since.

Was he trying to blackmail the Chinese community into considering carefully before voting against the party? Was he more confident of a better performance then? His subsequent silence may mean he has either regretted his statement or that he is less confident of his party’s performance in the upcoming elections two years later.

According to the chart in this article, out of the 15 seats won by the MCA, only four seats have a majority, i.e. more than 50 per cent of Chinese voters — Kampar, Kluang, Gelang Patah and Kulai. Two other seats have marginally more Chinese than Malay voters i.e. Bentong and Labis. This shows that the MCA won these 15 seats with more support from the Malay community than the Chinese. Furthermore, out of the 15 seats, seven were won from the DAP, six from PKR and two from PAS. Interestingly enough, the other 25 seats where MCA lost were all Chinese plurality seats.

How then will the MCA fare in the 13th general election? Having exited the political arena, I will attempt to answer this objectively in spite of the fact that I was an MCA leader and also a victim of the political tsunami in 2008.

In general, most people think the MCA will obtain fewer than the 15 seats it garnered in 2008. As to the extent of the loss, this will depend on the following crucial factors that will decide the MCA’s fate:

1) The increase of the number of voters in the electoral roll will be a decisive factor. Generally these new additions are young, first-time voters who are anti-establishment and will normally vote against the incumbents. In other words, they will not be voting in favour of the MCA.

2) Out of the 15 seats won by the MCA, seven are located in Johor. Pakatan Rakyat has declared Johor as its frontline battle state in its plan to capture Putrajaya. Hence it will definitely concentrate on the seven MCA seats and also the sole MIC seat (Segamat) in the state. They will also be led by heavyweights like Salahuddin Ayub, one of the three vice-presidents of PAS and current MP for Kubang Kerian, Chua Jui Meng, also a PKR vice-president and former Bakri MP, and very likely Lim Kit Siang himself, who will move from Perak to Johor, the state where he was born. Another DAP central executive committee member and national leader, Liew Ching Tong, has already announced his intention to move from Penang.

3) Will Chor Chee Heung, who won marginally by 184 votes in Alor Star, and Kong Cho Ha with 298 votes be able to retain their seats ? Alor Star and Lumut have many more Malay voters than Chinese. In the last elections slightly more than 50 per cent Malays voted for the MCA/BN across the country. A slight decrease in Malay votes will make these two seats vulnerable. This potential decrease in Malay sentiment for BN will inevitably impact all the seats contested by the MCA that have more than 40 per cent Malay voters as nobody can deny that Chinese support for the MCA and BN is worse now compared to the last elections.

4) Of the 15 incumbents, at least five to eight will either be dropped by the MCA or will retire. Who will be replacing them? Will winnable candidates be fielded or will only the president’s men prevail? Chua Soi Lek has announced that Ong Tee Keat, a winnable candidate and current Pandan MP, will be dropped. Will Najib over-rule Soi Lek and retain Tee Keat? Ong Ka Ting, who won with a majority of 14,895 votes, has declared a few times that he is stepping down from his seat in Kulai. His successor would be hard pressed to retain this 59 per cent Chinese-majority seat. Ong Ka Chuan, Ka Ting’s older brother, will win in Tanjung Malim if he stands again. But will he be retained knowing the bad blood between Soi Lek and the Ong brothers?

5) Will Ng Yen Yen be able to retain her Raub seat after the Bukit Koman cyanide poisoning issue, the Psy “lou sang” incident and “Yes No Yes No” episode in Malacca?

6) How will Liow Tiong Lai fare against Himpunan Hijau’s Wong Tak standing on a DAP ticket? Will the change of candidate from a PKR to DAP one have any effect in this 47 per cent Chinese-majority seat?

7) Will the ongoing PKFZ trial of former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik have any effect on all the MCA candidates? In particular, will it impact Kong Cho Ha who replaced Ong Tee Keat as transport minister?

8) Finally the key question: Will Soi Lek stand in this coming elections? If he stands, which seat will he choose? Will his sex scandal affect him only or have repercussions on all the MCA candidates? Without a doubt, all Pakatan candidates who are standing against Soi Lek and other MCA members will liberally remind voters of this sex scandal.

Pakatan knows MCA candidates will be the most vulnerable and hence will capitalise on this in its aim to win the election. They also know the DAP will be their best weapon to take down MCA candidates.

Hence, the Bentong seat that was previously contested by PKR was given to the DAP. Chua Jui Meng’s request to contest in his hometown and previous seat in Bakri when he was still a member of the MCA was also not considered and has been retained as the DAP’s. Lim Kit Siang recently announced Gelang Patah, a Chinese-majority seat, will be contested by the DAP although it was a PKR seat in the last election.

I am convinced that Pakatan will give seats to the DAP in whichever area it has a better chance to win.

In conclusion, while it would not be appropriate for me to pinpoint exactly which seats the MCA will retain or lose, I estimate that MCA will obtain somewhere between 5-10 seats out of these 15 seats.

In my next article, I will look into how the MCA will fare in the 25 seats it lost.

* Datuk Lee Hwa Beng is the former MCA state assemblyman for Subang Jaya (three terms from 1995-2008). Stood as the BN candidate for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat in 2008 and lost. Appointed Port Klang Authority chairman to investigate the PKFZ scandal from 2008 to 2011 and the author of “PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed.”

The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the columnist and this article first appeared in The Malaysian Insider.

This article was written by on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply


Other News

The story behind parliamentary written replies

23 July, 2014 0 Comments

By Lu Wei Hoong Early last month, PKR’s Bagan Serai MP N Surendran slammed the institution of Parliament as “a waste of money”, because recent events have shown that it merely acts as a “rubber stamp” for the government of the day. To members of the media who cover the ... Full Article →

Artist Zunar, relentless fighter against tyranny (Part 2)

23 July, 2014 0 Comments

(…continuation from part 1) Since 2009, we still haven’t seen other cartoonists who shine other than yourself. Why is that so? Ok. With regard to this, I can only provide the space and guidance for cartoonists, I wont be able to turn them into successful cartoonists. That is for themselves ... Full Article →

Thank you, veterans! Because of you, DAP prevails

2 April, 2014 0 Comments

On 2 March, Penang Chief Minister and DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng hosted a private dinner in honor of the Penang state DAP veterans. There are over 120 veterans in the state who have been party members for over 30 years. Of the number, about 70 turned up ... Full Article →

What’s wrong with the Terengganu crisis?

5 June, 2014 0 Comments

by Political Studies for Change (KPRU) Election fever has become a phenomenon in this equatorial country ever since the March 8 political tsunami, which has changed the political landscape, though the political transformation has not completed yet. To a certain extent, each legislature at federal and state level has put a different complexion on politics. The recent Terengganu political crisis and the storming of the Penang state assembly by UMNO members have to do with legislative politics. Legislative politics is different from election politics. From the parliament to legislature assembly in each state, the most frequent question that has been asked by people is about the attendance of members of elected representative, and as for some other incidents that have happened in legislature they have merely formed a part of their memory as people might find them obscure. Obscurity has become a byword for these pieces of memory due to the fact that people might not have the foggiest about these floating debris of memory. The most unforgettable legislative incident to the people goes to the seizure of power in the Perak state, and despite that, people did not necessarily follow on all the details and issues arising from the incident of seizing power in Perak state. This time - the Terengganu crisis is not only a political crisis, but also a ‘legislative crisis’. The lack of pressure from people in Terengganu lies in the insufficient knowledge about legislative which has saved Najib Razak’s shaky hold on power, as well as the dying Terengganu political and legislative crises from the jaws of death. The incident got serious. Media started to report extensively and non-UMNO members in BN also thought that it was a red flag. However, from the Prime Minister Najib’s statement announcing that the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin had consented to the resignation of Ahmad Said as well as the appointment of Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman as the new Terengganu Menteri Besar; to the dramatic twist of events where Ahmad Said and and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party and then later returned to the party, there appeared an unification in media reporting of the incident from the preparedness to deal with the incidents from different angles. As stability wins over anything else, water leaves behind no trails in its path. From Najib’s statement on 12th May 2014 to the new Menteri Besar Ahman Razif’s taking of oath of office before Sultan Mizan; and to the former Menteri Besar Ahmad Said’s announcement made at his official residence in Kemaman as to his decision to withdraw his resignation from UMNO, the whole process took shorter than two days. Nonetheless, all of the incidents that have occurred in the midst of the Terengganu crisis must not be dismissed out of hand, particularly when comes to the interpretation of matters involving legislative, which calls for some clarification and so that when similar event takes place in future, people in the particular state would no longer stay static in the face of the crisis. This Terengganu crisis, after Ahmad Said and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party, left Barisan Nasional with 14 state seats, against Pakatan Rakyat’s 15 in the assembly, giving an equation of 15:14:3, with 3 being the “independent reps”. On the same day, that is, 13th May, the Terengganu state legal advisor Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, when contacted by Bernama, has claimed that despite the fact that the number of BN assemblymen had dropped from 17 to 14, the state assembly Speaker was counted as a representative of the ruling state government, thereby giving an equation of 15:15:3. It was Wesak day, which is also a public holiday. After founding director of think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU), Ooi Heng and his family offered prayers in a Buddhist temple and after he came across Azhar’s misleading statement, Ooi Heng shared his personal view on Facebook, taking the view that the Speaker shall have the casting vote only when the voting comes down to a tie. After talking to a journalist, Ooi Heng is even convinced that the real reason behind Terengganu state legal advisor making misleading statement was to buy some time for UMNO’s political power, so as to resolve the political and legislative crisis. The Federal Constitution has given exposition on legislative power, which includes both parliament and state assembly, and under which the Speaker’s voting right is also covered. The Federal Constitution is basically modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system. Schedule 8, Paragraph 10 (1B) of the Federal Constitution makes it clear that the Speaker of legislative assembly who is not an elected representative has no voting power. Whereas according to the Article 27 (1B) of the Constitution of Terengganu, non-member of the Assembly elected as Speaker has no voting right. Terengganu assembly speaker, Mohd Zubir Embong, is not an elected representative, as he was appointed as assembly speaker on 16th June 2013 after being defeated in the election for Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat. Hence, the controversy over the question of whether the speaker’s vote can be counted shall not even arise. In fact, not only does the state assembly follow the Westminster legislative custom, but the parliament of Malaysia is also following the system. The Article 57 (1A) of the Federal Constitution clearly provides that any person elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives who is not a member of the House of Representatives has no voting right. Furthermore, according to the Standing Order 45(1), the speaker shall be entitled to give his deciding ballot only when the voting comes down to a tie where ayes are equal to noes. This deciding ballot can be known as the casting vote, or ‘undi pemutus’ in Malay. The aim of this article is to clear doubts on this legislative incident, and as far as the Speaker’s voting right is concerned, no critical comment is intended to be directed at the roles that both government and the opposition have played in this political power crisis. However, I am of the opinion that despite the misleading statement by the state legal advisor, government and opposition elites should still be held responsible politically for this legislative incident. It is indeed bizarre that both government and opposition have no idea about the legislative procedures in the Terengganu state assembly when most of the assembly members are from UMNO and PAS. In the two days within which the 3 UMNO state assemblymen became ‘independent reps’ (Less than 48 hours), Terengganu state assembly has actually been beset with crisis. While there was likely UMNO fall down in Terengganu, UMNO has nonetheless got themselves some time to stabilise their shaky hold on power. Apart from UMNO taking the lead in this incident, the fact that PAS was being indifferent to the misleading statement will go down in the history of legislative politics. History is bound to repeat when political elite’s political action has not been properly examined. -The Rocket * The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the columnist ... Full Article →