Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

The Barisan Nasional Parties Are Worthless

Written by johnleemk on 4:21:45 am Mar 21, 2007.

While browsing some blogs recently, I found an interesting defence of the Malaysian Chinese Association. As most people are aware, the MCA is generally regarded as the second-most powerful party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, although its power has significantly shrunk from the days of the 1960s and 70s, when their President could reasonably attempt to become Deputy Prime Minister.

The crux of this defence is that although the old guard of the MCA is corrupt and cronyist, the party has a quiet number of rank and file who, as technocrats, are working for change and are ably serving society. Although I don't have the experience to state for sure whether this is true or false, it certainly appears to me to not be very logical.

The fact is, as even this commenter acknowledged, the MCA is very contrained in what it can say and do. If UMNO says jump, it jumps. If UMNO says stay, it stays. It's just UMNO's dog.

A dog may be able to make some decisions for itself. It may be, in theory, autonomous. But in the end, it is its owner's chattel, and if it does not obey its owner's commands (which is highly unlikely, unless the dog happens to be as stupid and insane as mine is), it is liable to be punished.

Can the MCA accomplish some things? Indeed, it can. As many people can tell you, it can often do a wonderful job with solving petty problems (Michael Chong of the MCA Complaints Bureau is particularly well-known for this). It can even remedy some problems with government racial policies, such as by securing scholarships for bright Chinese students.

The MCA apologist painted the picture as one where voters must either pick an opposition with a voice in Parliament but no actual control over government policy, or a government where all others parties are the dogs of the leading racist hegemon known as UMNO.

This is a false choice. In reality, if the voters picked the opposition, the opposition would become the government, and this issue would not come up at all. It is solely because of fear and apathy that we've been unable to implement and work for true change in our country.

The fact is, the government is becoming more and more dominated by UMNO. Whatever UMNO says appears to go, regardless of the concerns of other parties. The other component parties of the Barisan Nasional coalition exist solely for the sake of appearances. Whatever power they have is curtailed by the fact that the Cabinet is dominated by UMNO, and Parliament could probably be dominated by it too (albeit without the two-thirds Parliamentary majority the government has always enjoyed).

The commenter closed by suggesting that this frustrating false choice is the reason so many pack up and migrate. I wouldn't rule it out. Although this choice is a false one, not many can see that there is another way out — by gathering enough momentum to install a new government. (Although I confess that the opposition has never been sufficiently convincing in engendering confidence that it would be an effective government.)

Still, a false choice it is. We can move forward, if only we have the critical mass and numbers to. The true impetus to migrate, at least for me, is not this false dichotomy between government and opposition. It's the saddening fact that it looks like this country is not going to be safe to raise a family by the time I become a middle-aged parent — not when our leaders can brandish weapons and threaten to spill the blood of non-Malays and get away with it.

The MCA, and all the other Barisan Nasional component parties except UMNO, are hopeless. Their status as mere dogs of the UMNO racialists was confirmed by their response to the horrifying antics of the UMNO annual general assembly last year — near-total silence, except for one or two carefully worded protests that UMNO brushed aside.

We need a party that will stand up for the rights of all Malaysians. And to date, I can't see any party that I have full confidence in. But one thing I do know: I have no confidence in the MCA, nor the Malaysian Indian Congress, nor Gerakan, nor the People's Progressive Party, or what have you. They're all worthless running dogs of the true people who run this country — the corrupt Nazi-wannabes in UMNO.

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