Saturday, February 25, 2012
The MCA's 63rd anniversary celebrations here on Sunday has seen the highest turn-out yet.
More than 3,000 party central delegates attended the celebrations, which started at 10am at Wisma MCA here.
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the historical turn-out reflected the members undivided love and support for the party.
“This is something that is contrary to when people said the MCA would close down after its dismal performance in the 2008 general election.
“In fact, the MCA today is more united and stable after emerging from the various challenges and tests and crises over the decades," Dr Chua said to loud applause from the floor.
Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek's speech at the MCA's 63rd anniversary celebrations
As we celebrate the coming of more than six decades of history in Malaysian politics, it reminds us of the contributions of our party elders and members.
It also reminds us of the ups and downs that we have gone through, the battles that we have fought, the many challenges we face and many hurdles that we have faced.
But after having gone through many crisis including 12 general elections, we have emerged as a stronger party today, ONE strong party.
Two years back, our party was at the crossroads of a crisis and now a new team has been duly elected and they have been working hard.
We have to accept the fact that the people won't support a party that is besieged with problems.
We have to set our priorities right so that we can move in one direction. The way forward is to be in sync with one another and work in one common effort but having many goals.
There is no room for splinter groups within the party as it will destroy what we have built in the last six decades.
There is no denial there are internal bickering but the priority now is to build a strong foundation of growth for the party as well as the nation.
We need to continue to evolve, innovate and anticipate so that we can be an inspiring force in the Malaysia of tomorrow.
Being a political party, we have to anticipate the challenges in today's political environment which has become more demanding.
Leaders can come and go but the party will continue to exist.
Different party leadership would have different styles, approaches, initiatives.
My fellow comrades, what is worth appreciating after 63 years is the love and loyalty of MCA members towards the party.
I would like to pay tribute and extend my sincere thanks to all the veteran members who have been with us through thick and thin.
This time around, we have decided to honour our veteran members who are 60 years and above for their contributions. Each of them will get a RM100 angpow.
The party is also glad to announce that party members who give birth to dragon babies this year will get a RM200 angpow.
In line with the new political culture, MCA has taken a more high profile approach in politics.
We will set achievable goals and brand ourselves accordingly. MCA has been taken for granted for its programmes and projects which were structured for the benefit of the people.
Although MCA has been perceived as more vocal and more effective in solving problems now, the problem we face is that the people may not be aware of what we are doing.
They are more critical of what you have not done or failed to have done.
Nevertheless, the party firmly believes in upholding the responsibility that has been entrusted upon us and would continue to articulate the hopes and expectations of the people.
I like to believe that when there are people who still rely on the party for help, we can consider ourselves still relevant.
At the MCA headquarters, we receive hundreds of calls daily seeking help. Our complaints bureau has also been a hive of activity always. This is because MCA do not only talk, but we walk the talk and work and deliver.
We are not in the business of trumpeting our achievements unlike certain political parties who do not do much but are only good at glorifying and magnifying what they do.
Our only appeal to the people is to be fair to the MCA when making their evaluation.
The party has decided that it would not take up any government positions after the next general election if it did not perform well.
Dear comrades, our role is not only all Chinese in nature. Although we are Chinese based, our programmes are structured to benefit the multi-racial composition of the country.
Just like UTAR, KTAR and the 1MCA Medical Foundation, they are all initiated by MCA but we do not discriminate.
It is about reaching out to fellow Malaysians whatever their political affiliations, whatever their ethnicity, whatever their religion, whatever their creed on a matter that transcends all these differences.
It is also interesting to note that among those who have benefited from MCA's effort include those from the other side of the political divide.
Ironically these politicians, though not obliged to say thank you, had been whacking MCA for purportedly not doing anything for education or the Chinese community.
MCA had diversified from its ethnic based image and no longer look or address issues solely at the standpoint of either as a Chinese, Malay or Indian perspective.
We are for a social contract that is inclusive to better serve the people in all fairness and in realising the wishes of the rakyat. This is also in line with the 1Malaysia agenda of the People First.
There are political parties, which on the surface only, portray themselves as multi-racial but actually focus its attention solely on mono-ethnic issues.
And when it comes to defending the very rights of the very mono-ethnic rights of the community, they veered off. DAP is one such party.
At the recent debate I had with Lim Guan Eng, he had evaded the topic on how they could handle the hudud law issue.
He had also evaded on one pertinent question as to the socio-economic programmes that Pakatan Rakyat would put in place.
If he could not even answer these two questions, how on earth could DAP for that matter be entrusted to defend the rights of the Chinese or for that matter the Chinese to put their trust on them.
They dare not even stand up to PAS, their big brother or “tai kor”.
Clearly 2012 is a very challenging year in terms of politics and economy. Of concern is the uncertain economic environment looming in the United States and European Union.
The country needs to ride through all those challenges and political stability and continuity is the key thrust in ensuring we can move ahead.
The US and EU are our important trading partners and export market destinations and Malaysia's economic growth will be affected as well.
We are however confident that with the right policies and programmes in place, we can achieve economic growth of 4 to 4.5% mainly because of our primary commodities and crude oil price remaining high, low unemployment rate of 3.5% and strong domestic spending power.
A slew of projects will also be taking shape and implemented under the Economic Transformation Programme. This will help to stimulate economic growth.
The 13th general election will likely be held this year. It is going to be a do-or-die battle, the political watershed of the country.
Party unity is of utmost importance in facing the GE. We have to face our opponents with a combined force of the Youth, Wanita and central body.
If we cannot get support from within our own ranks, we cannot expect to get support from outside the party. We will be a formidable force if we stay intact.
Unity and stability in the party are the most basic condition or prerequisite in facing an election. Party unity is not for me to benefit but the future of the party hinges very much on discarding factional politics and moving ahead as One Team.
On this note, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the support and cooperation rendered by party members in uniting the party.
It cannot be denied that the stability and unity in the party has enabled us to be more focused in solving problems and to be able to implement programmes/activities beneficial to the rakyat.
Unity is important within the party. It is not for me, nor for the leaders but for MCA, BN and future of this country.
All MCA members should help to promote its activities at the grassroot level and giving good service with emphasis on publicity, not only via the traditional media but the new media as well.
Party members should not adopt a defensive role towards DAP but go on an offensive, more so when we know we are on the right track.
Today, I would also like to show you our report card. They are as follows :
- We support the PM's Economic Transformation Programme to ensure Malaysia achieve high income nation status by 2020.
- PM should come up with more open economic policies especially in the services sector. - We welcome the initiative but we still think that the government should continue to liberalise more like the oil and gas as well as the telecommunication sector; widen the loan accessibility to SMEs
- Government should not just focus on attracting FDIs alone but also domestic investment. - Some incentives that have been given to foreign investors should also be enjoyed by domestic investors like training grants, tax incentives, pioneer status and loan facilities.
- On minimum wage, we have been emphasising that the government has to implement a minimum wage system and to set up a National Consultative Wage Council. We are glad that all these are already in various stages of implementation. MCA also has its representatives in the council.
- MCA succeeded in objecting to the amendments to the Income Tax Act (to include Section 107D and amendment to Section 81). This is because we found that these laws were not fair to taxpayers as they gave too much discretionary powers to the Director-General of the Inland Revenue Board.
- We have also objected and succeeded in postponing the passing of the Computing Professionals Bill 2011, because we feel that in the area of Information Technology, it should not be based on academic qualification alone but on a person's creativity and innovativeness.
- As for the economic sector, the government should emphasise on fair competition and meritocracy.
- Grooming talents is the main agenda of the party and no party has done more than us.
- KTAR has trained 175,000 students main campus and five branch campuses have a student population of 24,000.
- Government has agreed to upgrade KTAR to university college.
- Utar has produced 25,000 graduates.
- MCA also pays attention to vocational education. Last year, we received the Taiwanese Education Ministry's undertaking to sponsor 300 Malaysian students to undergo vocational training annually.
- Last year, we sent the first batch of 160 students to Taiwan and this year, we have 357 students registered for the vocational course intake which is awaiting approval from the Taiwan Education Ministry.
- We have also started planning for our own vocational college.
- Last year, MCA managed to achieve the Malaysia-China mutual recognition of academic certificates. We have also managed to achieve the Malaysia-Taiwan mutual recognition of academic certificates.
- On SJKC, to say that the government did not give any grant is a lie but it is true that the grant is insufficient. This year, partially government-aided SJKC would receive RM100 million, and we are preparing the list to be submitted to the Education Ministry.
- The government has also agreed to allocate RM95mil for the relocation of 13 schools, the setting up of seven new schools and the expansion and reconstruction of eight others. Allocations are deposited directly into the school board's account and such a privilege is not enjoyed by other schools.
- The Ministry of Education has allowed SJKCs to be built on national school reserve lands even in Selangor.
- The government is now paying RM2,000 of the monthly utility bills of partially government-aided SJKC.
- On the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), MCA made a stand that the SJKC should be allowed to teach the subjects in mother tongue and secondary school students should be given a choice to choose the language for the subjects.
- MCA hopes the Ministry of Education would put emphasis on the usage of and we should work towards making English a compulsory pass subject in the SPM examination and also to make English literature as a compulsory subject in school.
We have a total of 78 SMJKs and student population of 120,000.
In a dialogue with PM last year, we reached consensus that: -
1) Chinese subject must be taught for at least 5 periods a week.
2) There will be 2 new SMJK; one in Seremban (SMJK Chan Wa) and another in Seberang Perai (SMJK Jit Sin).
3) There will be special allocation for SMJK and MCA is preparing the list.
4) MCA proposed that Mandarin subject to be made mandatory examination subject in SMJK.
- Unified Examination Certificate holders can now apply for PTPTN loans, scholarships for 50 top UEC scorers annually, entry to teacher training college and
- Now we are working on allowing UEC students to enter local public universities.
- We would like to emphasize that scholarships should be based on results but those who are in the socially and economically disadvantaged group, should continue to receive help.
- Total of 1,648 Chinese students received JPA scholarships last year but the Selangor government via Yayasan Selangor only offered 13 scholarships to non-Bumiputras including two for Chinese out of the total 240 students in 2011.
- We will continue to monitor and assist student entry into Public Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTA). Last year through MCA's effort, 88.6% of Chinese students managed to enter IPTA.
- To reduce the people's burden due to inflation, MCA ministers had raised in the Cabinet and I had also proposed through the National Economic Council that the government should provide financial aid to the people, students as well as book vouchers for Chinese independent school students.
- In 2011, MCA presented the 1Malaysia Cultural Award to show our appreciation towards the contribution of local cultural workers and to promote the 1Malaysia ideology. The late Yasmin Ahmad, a popular director received an award under the non-Chinese category.
- Through MCA's effort and help from Johor Mentri Besar, the Johor Chingay procession is now officially recognised as a national cultural heritage.
- We are also in discussion with the Malacca state government to purchase a piece of land to build a Chinese museum in Malacca.
Under a New Deal for all Malaysians, I had suggested that a time-frame be set for the abolishment of the Printing Presses and Publications Act. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib has responded by saying that under a comprehensive review of the Act, print publications will no longer need to renew their printing licences annually. This will be the first step towards liberalizing the print media industry with the hope that there will be more room space for freedom of speech and expression.
* 1MCA Medical Foundation RM14 million raised since its inception.
- total of 697 patients suffering from various ailments benefited from it so far.
- As of Feb 1, 2012 a total of RM4.6mil disbursed to deserving cases - Chinese (535), Indians (117), Bumi (45)
* 1MCA Education Loan Scheme
- Total of 77 students benefited from scheme with loans approved amounting to RM2.87mil so far Chinese (66), Indian (9), Bumiputras (1)
* 1MCA micro-credit for youths
- 159 applications received up to February this year and 33 successful applicants (Chinese 29, Malays 2, Indians 2) amounting to RM470, 000
* Chang Ming Thien Foundation
- RM24.1 mil in study loans disbursed to 1568 students since 2004. Chinese (1,464), Indians (87), Bumi (17).
So my fellow comrades, MCA is not all talk only and no action unlike our counterparts of the opposite divide. They talk and talk but no output, no success stories and none performing.
The only thing they can perform is to provide lip service.
The party has passed a resolution at the AGM not to take up any government post if it did not perform better than the 2008 general election.
This cannot be construed as a threat. We have to respect the wishes of the voters.
We don't want the DAP to rubbish us that we can enter by the backdoor, being appointed as senators and becoming ministers or deputy ministers.
Voters have a choice BN or the Opposition Front. While BN is not perfect, the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has set clear directions on how Malaysia can move forward to achieve high income nation and via transformation programmes undertaken by the government.
We are beginning to see real results in terms of better security, increased competitiveness globally where we rose from the 28 spot to 21. And as for the ease of doing business, we rose from 23rd spot to 18.
We also continue to attract FDIs and that Malaysia is recognised as among the top 10 countries in the world in being attractive to foreign investments.
Latest figures showed that Malaysia attracted RM32.9 billion in FDIs last year, the highest ever recorded.
We are confident with the people's support; we will achieve the status of a high-income nation.
Fellow comrades, while voters are aware that when they vote for MCA, they are voting for BN but many are unaware that when they vote for DAP, they are voting for PAS and Keadilan.
A vote for DAP = A vote for PAS.
Today MCA is perceived to play as second fiddle with DAP ridiculing us as being solely Chinese-based and surviving behind the “sarong” of Umno.
However DAP has one piece more of “sarong” than MCA. They have to contend with two pieces of “sarong” one from PAS and the other from Parti Keadilan.
What is unacceptable is that PAS is committed to implement its Islamisation agenda and hudud law.
DAP is impotent and a political eunuch when it comes to dealing with PAS.
From my debate with Lim Guan Eng, it's obvious that Pakatan doesn't have any economic model to develop the social economic sector of the nation.
What they have are only populist policies, giving money here and there but not addressing the underlying economic structural issue in Malaysia .
If you look at the Buku Jingga and if they really honour it, the nation will go bankrupt in two years just like Greece.
For example to abolish toll, it will cost RM50 billion to RM100 billion, to absorb all the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loans (it will cost RM40bil) , ensuring every household will have RM4,000 monthly income to all household in 5 years (a total of RM93.9 billion annually would need to be paid out to the 3.8 million households to ensure their income is guaranteed at RM4,000 per month)
Malaysia will then be the Greece of Asean in two years.
When MCA says a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS, it is not political spinning. It is political reality.
For instance after the last General Election, the MBs of Kedah and Perak were chosen from PAS.
Now DAP wants to make Johor its front-line state. However PAS has insisted that if they win, the Mentri Besar should be from its party.
Are we not saying the truth that empowering DAP is to help DAP to pave the way for PAS to be the “tai kor” both for the State and Federal levels.
Religion is a very volatile issue in a multi-racial country and if you put it as a national political agenda, it becomes a recipe for national disaster.
The next general election is a crossroads not just for the Chinese but the whole nation.
We either vote for Najib's transformation programmes and 1Malaysia agenda to achieve high-income nation status or set the clock back and vote for divisiveness and bankrupt the nation in two years.
Tough times are ahead and we need an experienced government with a vision to steer us out of trouble and not into deeper problems and troubles.
The passion that drives MCA till today is its belief in the people's confidence and trust that the party can deliver and continue to deliver.
Our record does not lie.