Keynote Address by Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, MCA President
On the Occasion of the
66th Meeting of the MCA Annual General Assembly
1 December 2019
YB Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Barisan Nasional Chairman cum UMNO President
YB Dato’ Seri Utama Mohamad Hasan
Barisan Nasional Deputy Chairman cum UMNO Deputy President
YBhg Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon
MCA Deputy President
YB Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran
YB Dato’ Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
Barisan Nasional Secretary-General
YBhg Tan Sri Tan Koon Swan dan
YBhg Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai
Former MCA Presidents and all MCA Veterans
Vice Presidents, leaders of UMNO, MCA and MIC Youth and Wanita
Fellow delegates, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen, good morning and selamat sejahtera.
First of all, I would like to thank the Chairman of Barisan Nasional Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for attending and officiating at the 2019 MCA annual general assembly. The same goes to all Barisan Nasional leaders who are present today. Even though we are now in the opposition, we still maintain the spirit of comradeship that we have established since 60 years ago when Perikatan or the Alliance was formed. This is the relationship that we have formed all this while. The closeness of this relationship is that of siblings which is the key to our strength.
This is proven in the Tanjung Piai by-election recently when our candidate Dato’ Sri Dr Wee Jeck Seng who represented Barisan Nasional emerged victorious with a majority of 15,086 votes.
I would like to record my highest appreciation to Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tan Sri S. A. Vigneswaran and the top leadership of Barisan Nasional for making a collective decision in selecting the candidate for the Tanjung Piai by-election. Even though it was difficult, it was overcome with full consideration and discussion. This principle of deliberation to reach a consensus decision will continue to be practised in strengthening the continuity of our relations as siblings.
I would also like to thank the entire Barisan Nasional machinery for striving tirelessly irrespective of rain or shine just to ensure that victory is ours. This is not just a victory for MCA but a victory for us all.
We witnessed the presence of UMNO top leaders such as Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, UMNO deputy president Dato’ Seri Utama Mohamad Hasan, vice-presidents Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Dato’ Seri Diraja Mahdzir Khalid dan Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khalid Nordin as well as leaders of the Youth and Wanita wings at the branch, division and state levels who campaigned all day long. MCA and I deeply appreciate all that you had done.
We would also like to thank the presence of former Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, former Finance Minister from 1976 - 1984 Yang Berhormat Mulia Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Tengku Mohd Hamzah, former Defence Minister Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, former UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar dan other political veterans. I am truly moved by the presence of these exceptional leaders. In terms of operation, UMNO Secretary-General YB Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Johor UMNO chairman YB Dato’ Ir. Hasni Mohammad who also worked day and night to lead the by-election operation room. This is the spirit of togetherness that was shown by the entire UMNO machinery to ensure the victory of MCA candidate Dato’ Sri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.
I would also like to thank the MIC machinery under its President Tan Sri S. A. Vigneswaran, together with his deputy Datuk Seri M. Saravanan and the leaders of MIC who also went down to the ground throughout the campaign period during the Tanjung Piai by-election. Moreover, Tan Sri S. A. Vigneswaran had given his full support from the very beginning and instructed the entire branch and his machinery to ensure victory for the Barisan Nasional candidate.
It is not complete if I do not show my appreciation to the leaders and machinery of MCA at various levels who went all out throughout the campaign period. Good job and thank you.
At the same time, an utmost appreciation must be extended to our ally within the opposition bloc — PAS. The presence of its President Dato’ Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Deputy President Dato’ Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Secretary-General Dato’ Takiyuddin Hassan, and its entire roster of leadership as well as the PAS machinery at all levels played a huge role in helping the Barisan Nasional candidate.
We must also thank our opposition comrades, Friends of BN, the youth and opposition supporters who contributed to the victory of Barisan Nasional in Tanjung Piai.
Our victory in Tanjung Piai demonstrates that Muafakat Nasional, which is built upon the spirit of solidarity amongst the opposition to not sideline any races, can truly be accepted by the people who love unity and political stability.
I am convinced Dato’ Seri Wee Jeck Seng will provide the best service to all residents of Tanjung Piai regardless of ethnicities. Wee Jeck Seng is an elected representative for all.
Delegates and guests,
Muafakat Nasional is premised on the Federal Constitution and supports universal values which emphasises diversity and moderation. This consensus can be utilised for the good of the people comprehensively. Additionally, our country’s uniqueness whereby it was formed from many ethnicities and religions must be preserved as this is a heritage and national treasure.
The landslide victory in Tanjung Piai breathes new life and revitalises morale for MCA and Barisan Nasional in our endeavour to take back Putrajaya from Pakatan Harapan. Meanwhile, we must not become complacent and careless over this victory; after all, our main focus is the 15th General Election which is only a few years away.
As we all know, people nowadays are getting increasingly fed up with the Pakatan Harapan government when it becomes clear it can neither fulfil its Manifesto nor stand for the people. Moreover, the scenarios in our country, from the aspects of unity to the economy, have become worrisome.
The opposition solidarity has enabled us to expose the wrongdoings of the Pakatan Harapan government. For instance, the recent RM1.4 billion scandal within the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry. Open tenders were awarded through direct negotiations instead. Back when Pakatan Harapan was the opposition, they harped on how all government contracts must be given through open tenders. Unfortunately, the Secretary-General of the said Ministry was transferred upon allegations of sabotage, despite the fact that it was the Minister himself who wrote the letter to the Prime Minister requesting for direct negotiations. Yet, a civil servant was transferred instead. Isn’t this an odd and cruel move?
We expose the government’s mismanagement and faults for the purpose of check and balance by relying on facts, instead of simply defaming others. As the opposition, it is our responsibility to practise check and balance against the Pakatan Harapan government for frequently committing mistakes in their administration and making U-turns. Previously they said, there will be no more direct negotiation, and 100% will be done through open tenders. And then suddenly, direct negotiation which contradicts the PH Manifesto becomes legitimised.
Likewise with the issue of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC)’s allocation. DAP’s Finance Minister has the audacity to politicise the allocation for students from needy families, simply because of political grudges. Formerly under the rule of the Barisan Nasional government, the question of education was frequently prioritised. Accumulatively, the Barisan Nasional government had given a total of RM1.353 billion for education in the duration of 50 years from 1969 to 2018. However, the moment Pakatan Harapan took over Putrajaya, Lim Guan Eng cancelled the matching grant; and after PH was defeated at the Tanjung Piai by-election, he then announced a RM30 million matching grant to be channelled through the Tarcian Alumni Association (TAA).
Since its establishment in 1969, TAR UC as an institute of higher learning, has successfully produced more than 200,000 graduates from various ethnicities. But now, they are suffering as a result of political vendetta by Pakatan Harapan’s leaders. This is really saddening.
Delegates and guests,
Regarding the direction of MCA and Barisan Nasional, we have always been a party that advocates moderation, and we are consistently fair to all irrespective of race, being both progressive and centrist or moderate. That is our true mettle.
Having governed the nation for the last 6 decades, we have been through various challenges in our quest to steer Malaysia towards a better direction with development alongside other developed countries. National unity, the economy, education, citizens’ wellbeing, sovereignty of the nation and international diplomacy have constantly been our priority. We will continue to work for the benefit of the people and the country until we return to govern the nation one fine day. To us, there is nothing more important than our citizens and beloved nation.
Certainly, we have learnt from our defeat in GE14. Certainly, the rakyat’s message is a sacred voice which teaches us to be mindful and to overcome our weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore, we will ensure that negative attributes such as ego, pride, arrogance and vulgarity will never be practised. What is more important now is to maintain peace and strengthen relations within the community. Only then will the rakyat return to supporting us.
In the wider context and the way forward, MCA is also prepared to cooperate with any political parties be it in Peninsular Malaysia or even Sabah and Sarawak, based on the spirit of opposition solidarity or solidariti pembangkang, so long as it is thrusted on the Federal Constitution, diversity and moderation.
At the same time, we will also highlight the progressive and pragmatic leadership of Barisan Nasional while capturing the hearts of every layer of society, and this is the priority which we have been cultivating all this while.
I only hope that this new politics can reduce the strife in our society. We should be able to live in an environment that is harmonious without offending the feelings of others and be always inclusive in line with universal values.
We must increase our strength and the spirit of Muafakat Nasional, unity and moderation for the interests of the rakyat and become the best alternative party to replace Pakatan Harapan which has proven to have failed in defending the rakyat as well as governing the country. I believe that this spirit of goodwill will also continue to spread throughout the country including Sabah and Sarawak.
Delegates and guests,
At this juncture, I would also like to announce that MCA will amend the Party Constitution to continue to strengthen the inclusion of MCA Affiliate Members who comprise of various races.
Even though MCA is said to be synonymous with the Chinese community, the party practises openness and champions the interests of all races in Malaysia regardless of race. It should be known that, MCA has always been a moderate party and has never side-lined the rights and interests of any races.
By intensifying the intake of these Affiliate Members, it is hoped that this will add value to the struggles of MCA in line with the objectives of the party’s establishment. Affiliate Members will be given the space and opportunity to contribute their views for the benefit of the party, and especially for society and the nation in general.
Actually, the participation of MCA Affiliate Members has long existed since the early formation of MCA. I still recall, among the earliest Affiliate Members with MCA was an ethnic Indian man. Therefore, I hope the participation of MCA Affiliate Members will be enhanced thereby opening up a great new chapter in the nation’s political arena.
In addition, I would like to state that MCA will amend the Party Constitution to lower the minimum age to join the party from 18 years to 16 years. This is in line with amendments to the Federal Constitution which had lowered the voting age from 21 years to 18 years which was passed in the Dewan Rakyat on16 July 2019. History was made when opposition and government Members of Parliament were equally supportive of this constitutional amendment.
This proves that we realise the younger generation are the main pillars who will inherit the nation’s leadership in the future. Their voices and views will receive serious attention from MCA. It is hoped that by lowering the minimum age, it will facilitate the younger generation to recognise and understand MCA’s struggles whilst becoming credible leaders in the future.
Delegates and guests,
Next, I will speak in Mandarin. For the first time in history, we have prepared translations to facilitate comprehension by all. This also proves that we are consistently consistent, sincere and do not descend to be “double faced” in declaring our party’s stand.