MCA cosies up to its enemy
Last Update: 14/11/2019
Exclusive Report By: Kamarul Ariffin Md Yassin
PONTIAN, Nov 14 -- There is truth to the saying that politics makes strange bedfellows.
This is evident in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election. polling of which is on Saturday, where erstwhile enemies MCA and PAS, facilitated by Umno, have joined forces to face the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
Umno and MCA, an all-Chinese party, are components of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which lost in the 14th general election (GE14) after having been in power in the country for six decades. PAS is an ultra-conservative Islamic party.
Some months back, Umno, a Malay nationalist party, and PAS, who were also once enemies, forged an alliance in trying to take on PH, which they called the National Cooperation Charter .
It boggles the mind as to how MCA and PAS can work together after having been at loggerheads for a long time and had very significant differences of opinions on many matters especially involving the Malays and the Islamic religion.
How did it all start? It could it be that both parties realise that their cooperation is important following the changes in the national political landscape post-GE14 and maybe this is the best way for them and Umno and MIC, another BN component, to become the government after GE15.
Although prior to this, MCA and PAS had vacillated about having political ties, the Tanjung Piai by-election probably highlighted the necessity.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang at a ceramah (political talk) here on Nov 6 confirmed that the party was lending its support to MCA because it was a "partner of their partner (Umno)".
He said it was the cue to ensure that the BN candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng could wrest the seat from PH in the by-election.
‘’PAS can support the MCA candidate who is not a Muslim..it must be understood that Islam is not only a religion but is also a way of life, among others, Islam teaches us to live in a plural society,’’ said Hadi at the ceramah.
This coming from a leader who had before even branded Umno members as "kafirs”(infidels).
A BN machinery worker saw such cooperation as greatly needed in the current scenario even though conceding that the situation was weird if the past was taken into account.
‘’Indeed, this cooperation is quite weird. But we cannot be too rigid in politics. Changes like this are sometimes necessary,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Tian Chua said the ‘combination’ showed the inconsistency of Umno and PAS as now they were taking advantage of each other while suddenly for MCA, it is okay to work with PAS.
“ It is also very opportunistic for MCA to enjoy the support from Umno and PAS. Initially, the National Cooperation Charter was between Umno and PAS and excluded MCA but they are now using an MCA candidate to contest in the by-election. This is not to fight for the welfare of the people..it’s just a a marriage of convenience,” he said.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities senior lecturer Associate Professor Dr Kassim Thukiman said the cooperation took place because PAS cannot be forever alone.
‘’If PAS were to decide to go it alone like it did in GE14, it would be difficult for PAS to get more seats,’’ he said.
The by-election is a six-cornered fight with the other candidates being Karmaine Sardini (PH) , Wendy Subramaniam (Parti Gerakan Malaysia), Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia) and two independent candidates, Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.