Thank you AL for highlighting to me about the recent challenge of young MCA members on the incumbents to have a debate ala Anwar-Shabery.
Well, to be honest, MCA needs no general rebranding. MCA all these while is a Chinese party, and this is one I cannot deny. However, never has MCA turned away other races when they needed help. Time after time, MCA throws in the weight and support in terms of finances, human resources and moral to those in need.
We need not go into details of what MCA has done for the general public, especially the Chinese. All we need to do is recall the famous man inside MCA, Datuk Michael Chong. In fact, I hope one day MCA can recommend him to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to give him a higher honorific title such as a Tan Sri or even a Tun for his contributions to the society.
Perhaps a Tun will be pushing too far but I believe his sacrifices and efforts to improve the welfare of Malaysians will see that he deserves a Panglima Setia Mahkota. I shall leave that for the Palace to decide.
As for MCA, all these while, the major support they have are from Dong Jia Zhong, Hua Zhong and the various Chinese associations, especially the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Let me bring our focus aside from the bones that form the one party called MCA. If we do a survey and ask around the young Chinese, especially graduates be it local or overseas, and if they are required to make a choice, they will enter DAP.
We ask ourselves why of course. DAP has managed to portray itself as a party of professionals where they fight for democracy and a Malaysian Malaysia. However, if it truly fights for a Malaysian Malaysia, then why is it that DAP comprises of mainly Chinese members? I can only wonder why. And now Pakatan Rakyat seem to be cracking but let us not stray too far away from our focus today.
Now, one reason why MCA are getting a lack of members is because of the nature of the party. It is a party where everything is spoken in Chinese and even the national assembly, general meetings, etc. I believe there are many Chinese who can hardly speak Mandarin, some can hardly read and write but can speak etc.
And that is why we have a famous term called "banana" to describe a Chinese who is a Chinese but either can't speak or write or perhaps both. Also, Malaysian schools are mainly national schools and there are a lot of Chinese who joined these schools instead of those Chinese language based schools.
If we do our Maths correctly, we will realise that more and more non Chinese language based Malaysian Chinese students are coming up as professionals in the field of law, finance, economics, engineering and medicine. We can perhaps leave aside the excuse that students join DAP is because they are fighting for a Malaysian Malaysia. That reason alone will not ensure DAP rules Malaysia one day because they are seen as a Chinese dominated party even now.
Allow me to stress that if DAP truly wants a Malaysian Malaysia, then I hope the leadership of DAP can release a memo and direct all DAP meetings and assemblies to be held in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia. Otherwise, it seems to me there will be a conflict of their cause.
So anyway, back to MCA. They will need a specific type of rebranding. MCA has the support of businessmen and educationists all these while. But the recent elections, if they are to go by, MCA needs to bring in the young professionals.
Malaysia is not a country with the ageing baby boomers problem. We do have a lot of young fresh graduates and professionals in the country, especially Malaysian Chinese. If MCA is to survive, they are to be more flexible with their usage of language in national assemblies and meetings.
Also, the stalwarts and veterans of MCA should understand that it is time for them to go and let the young ones takeover. The veterans of MCA should be gracious and guide these young ones to understand the complications of party, state and national politics.
The future of MCA depends on the youths but the road to the future needs to be built by the veterans. If the veterans still insist in making comebacks or squash the youths who want to takeover their posts and leadership, then MCA will sink and break into factions very soon.
I do not know about the debate styles and I do not really agree with that in MCA because of the factions issue and we can never know if MCA grassroot members are mature enough to have a "peaceful" debate among candidates.
Debates might not be beneficial for the young challenger too. This is because MCA members are still mainly dominated by hardcore Malaysian Chinese who speaks only Chinese and their dialects. Young MCA members tend to like Bahasa Malaysia and English more in their conversation. And if we talk about Economics, finance and good governance, I am not sure every single member of MCA will understand too ! So how then can the MCA members make a informed decision?
It will not be fair for both the voters and candidates. However, a debate for the national level election candidates might be a good idea. This is because division and State leaders as well as national leaders who get to vote at the MCA National Assembly are better and well educated people. They will be able to choose who can best lead MCA to a better future and face challenges from inside BN and also Pakatan Rakyat.
So to wrap up, I believe MCA needs to change the nucleus and style of their party. Allow me to say it again. The younger generation of MCA members and potential members will need to takeover in the nearest future possible.
But being young and inexperienced, they cannot go far. The engine of MCA will fall and break down soon enough without proper maintenance and guidance. Thus, the road to the new era of MCA will need to be built by veterans of MCA.