Sunday, March 28, 2010
Reflections on the MCA Party Election.
The process and results of the MCA party election on March 28, give room for a lot of reflections. Not only on the meaning of democracy in this country but also on some aspects of the underlying value system which makes this country tick. Other component parties in Barisan have a lot to learn from the MCA.
The most striking thing about the MCA party election is the smoothness of the process, especially at the election. There does not appear to be any money politics involved. If there was, it was well-hidden and it does not seem to interfere with the final outcome where the most troubled candidate for the presidency, emerged as the winner. An incumbent leader and an ex-president were put aside, reflecting no emotional or sentimental attachment to current or ex-power wielders. Private matters which could pull down or even bury candidates for a top political post in other parties especially UMNO, also did not interfere with the final, crucial, political decisions.
Admittedly. the processes leading to the party election seemed troubled and full of suspense. But the election itself went off very, very smoothly. To me it's a model party election, without any restrictions for the naming of candidates. The ex-President, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, joined in the fray at the eleventh hour and there was no voice of dissentient. It seemed to me that anyone who felt he or she has enough support to become a candidate for the presidency would be welcome; there was no disqualifiers or conditions imposed. That's democracy as far as I'm concerned.
Most obvious was the lack of campaigning through the media where each candidate tries to vilify his opponents in the strongest of terms. We don't know whether that happened in the Chinese Press or not but whatever leaked out to the mainstream media was negligible. As a keen follower of the contest, I could not form any negative opinion about the candidates based on media reports. Dr Chua Soi Lek was a model of silence and modesty in as far as a candidate for a party presidential election is concerned. I've no doubt that that gave him a lot of support. The other candidates for president, deputy president and vice presidents, were also not involved in trying to do each other in through the Press. Can we say the same in the party election of other parties?
In brief we did not see delegates breaking up into three distinct groups as we moved towards the election date, standing behind and showing their support for their own favorite. There was no distinct team A, team B, team C or team D as we used to see in other party elections. I'm sure such alignment or division existed but it did not interfere with the smooth running of the election nor stir up undesirable confrontations or fracas, during the election. MIC and even UMNO can learn a lot from this as much as the other component parties in Barisan. It would appear that money politics and the bad-mouthing or back-stabbing of each other to gain public support and popularity during election campaigns, are the most pathetic and the most destructive pathological factors in election campaigns both at the Party or State and National levels.
The outcome of the MCA election is now known and the election has been pretty smooth. Let us wait and see whether it has succeeded in ending the leadership crisis which had plagued MCA for almost two years. Meanwhile, congratulations to all the newly elected leaders, the victorious and the vanquished. It's most encouraging to see that all candidates seemed to be satisfied with the decision made by the delegates and there's no bad-mouthing after the act or what the Malays describe as "rumah sudah pahat berbunyi," (The house is done but the wedges keep howling). The democratic attitude and open mindedness of the delegates shown by the MCA party election are exemplary.