"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives with them. The good is oft interred with their bones..."
When Mark Anthony made this oration, in William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, the masses fell for it hook, line and sinker and switched camps. Just like that! One speech and history was re-written. Have people changed since then?
On March 28 (Sunday), the MCA Central Delegates are faced with a daunting task - the election of a president and new CC members. It is a time of reckoning to resuscitate a party, now seen to be at its lowest ebb in its 61 years of existence.
It is time for the party to put a closure to all its internal problems and elect a team to move the party forward.
The party must put a stop to the swaying back and forth with allegations and counter allegations. This attempt at self-destruction is excruciatingly painful and embarrassing to say the least.
The party must elect a president who is without baggage, forward looking, outspoken and with a passion and vision to lead the party, community and nation. Let there be no motive for revenge but only the vindication of transparency and accountability in the life of the party and against leaders armed with self interest.
We must fight for the objectives which MCA has set up for - a single fundamental idea that describes '...what a proper government should be, the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefit and burdens for the good of all, irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. MCA must create a better future for our children, giving its people direction and purpose by constantly innovating and adapting to new realities.
History judges leaders on their handling of issues of national interest, not on their emotional being.
Allow me to write my take on the candidates for the presidency of MCA in the order they appear on the ballot paper.
1) Dr Chua Soi Lek
History is laced with public figures caught in sex scandals to their great personal detriment and shame. Most of them faded into obscurity. It goes without saying that public figures do not and cannot live by the same set of rules as the layman. Behaviour that is acceptable in an ordinary private citizen may not be so in one who is supposed to be an example of dignity, integrity and righteousness.
Soi Lek's adultery and his own admission as the man in the act of a widely distributed sex DVD scandal is something really unacceptable. He is now an unacceptable role model for Malaysians and is unfit for political leadership in both MCA and BN.
2) Ong Ka Ting
He is now labelled as a 'recycled politician', I concur. Ka Ting had five long years as MCA president. Very little was achieved. His closing chapter was the March 2008 election disaster. MCA suffered its greatest defeat. My peers and I were the thousands that were overlooked in our applications for places in public varsities and scholarships. We applied through MCA. Ka Ting told us these were sensitive issues and he needed to discuss these matters with the powers that be behind closed doors.
With that, the doors were slammed shut on our hopes and dreams.
History reminds me that there was an unprecedented occasion where 10 non-Muslim Ministers sent a memorandum calling for a review of laws affecting the rights of non-Muslims and a review of Article 121(A) of the Federal Constitution to the then Prime Minister Pak Lah. It is also indelibly recorded that Ong Ka Ting, Chua Soi Lek and Chan Kong Choy were cowed by the powers that be. They withdrew. Only Bernard Dompok stood his ground.
Ka Ting has passed the baton to Ong Tee Keat. He has declared his chapter closed. He should stay above the fray and not enter the ring on a combative stance and pretext of 'saving MCA' especially after he declared to the world that he is not to be disturbed as he has retired. He has stayed silent for the last 17 months, why the sudden change of hearts now?
3) Ong Tee Keat
He is a rebel with a cause. Ong's selfless services and sacrifices for the MCA have been etched in the party's history. He has the unflagging conviction towards the purity of MCA's objectives and worthiness of its cause.
He has been a forthright leader who spoke up fearlessly. He exposed the excessive amounts paid for the renovations of the Chinese primary schools in Johore. He spoke up on the unfair and unjust allocations of places in local public universities.
As transport minister, he opened up the can of worms and 'the mother of all financial scandals' - the PKFZ fiasco. We, the rakyat, has lost billions. We cannot have our future generations pay past debts. Seemingly, powerful politicians have vested interest in this financial scandal.
These vultures are out to get him. It is rumoured that big money is buying votes out there.
Obviously, Ong has stepped on the toes of some powerful figures. But I am convinced he is not cowed.
The Merdeka Centre survey conducted recently has shown that the majority of the respondents feel that Ong should continue leading MCA.
There may be times that he has erred - not able to fulfill his promises and made mistakes but I do strongly believe MCA still needs Tee Keat to navigate through these troubled and stormy times.
He has navigated and triumphed in his first foray into national politics. He defeated the indefatigable strongman Harun Idris. He took on Loke Yuen Yow in the National MCA Youth Election. Tee Keat won.
In the last 2010 AGM many pundits predicted only 300 Central Delegates will attend. 603 appeared on that appointed day.
He may be the underdog but he has got 9 lives.
Take your pick, mine is obviously the rebel with a cause - with his vision Courage to Change. Ong Tee Keat for MCA President.
Letter by Ronnie Tan, Kuala Lumpur
courtesy of Malaysian Mirror