Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MCA Polls : Floating votes crucial

With a record 101 contenders vying for the 31 posts in the most hotly contested MCA elections ever in the party's 61-year-old history, it is a free for all contest with those belonging to the same faction contesting against each other.

Like the Chinese saying in Hokkien "pak lai pak ka ki" (the fight ends up in a fight hurting themselves), the party seems to be heading towards a contest which will result in many contenders badly bruised up.

Will there be sufficient time for the healing process to take place and the various factions to close ranks in time for the 13th general election which will take place anytime from one to two years time.?

Come March 28, delegates have a great responsibility of choosing the right man for the right job to helm the one million strong party.
Any wrong leader picked for the job will have a bearing on the outcome of the party's performance in the next general election.

The leader must fit the bill not only for the party but also be acceptable by Malaysians at large. In short, he must be the people's leader.

Every vote cast by the 2,378 delegates means a lot as it will translate to either a continuity for consolidation, reformation or even "decapitation" of the party.

Tear the party apart

Whether the party will end up stronger after the party polls is left to be seen but the ultimate chosen leader has the daunting task of embarking on a healing journey and getting the party in order to face the next general elections where bigger challenges and tasks lies ahead.

As one central delegate puts it: "The crowded race of 86 contenders vying for the 25 central committee positions will tear apart the party".

"Take for instance, a record of 25 candidates from Selangor alone are vying for the CC posts. There is no such thing as you belonging to the same faction anymore.

"It's free for all and the priority of all the contenders will be to take care of themselves in wooing support.

Some may say it is healthy but to me, it will see many betraying each other in terms of promises of delivering block votes which eventually may run astray.

"The highest bidder for the block votes will ultimately get the votes. This is where promises of positions, elevation to ministerial positions, or even business contracts are used as carrots to dangle for support," he said.

In such a scenario, the fence sitters or rather the floating votes are most crucial in deciding the winner, especially in the keenly fought positions.

The spread of votes will be much thinner with so many contenders in the field and every vote is very significant in making a difference of a defeat or victory.

As much as 20 to 25 per cent of floating votes were up for grabs initially but as the datedraws nearer to the polling day and with intense campaigning, the figure has been reduced to about 10 to 15 per cent.

Strengths and weaknesses

Despite the reduced percentage of fence sitters numbering between 230 to 350 of them, they can be a force to be reckoned with and a deciding factor, especially in the race for the presidential votes.

Another delegate said it was no easy feat to woo these floating votes as they are the neutral parties who are non-partisan and believe strongly in picking leaders who can clearly outline the future direction of the party without fear or favour.

They want a president who fits the characteristics of an ideal leader who do not have any political baggage, dares to speak up, not weak and would be able to handle the big boys in Barisan Nasional and not "kow tow" (submit) to them.

It will be a tough choice for them as each of the three contenders has their strong points and weaknesses.

They would have to weigh the prosmca 4 and cons of picking each leader.

Incumbent president Ong Tee Keat is seen as a straight-forward man who walks the talk and expound the principles of accountability, transparency and integrity, while Dr Chua Soi Lek is a man who long aspires to take the leadership role and obtain a return ticket to the Cabinet.

As for Ong Ka Ting who has been branded a "recycled president", he professes to be the white knight by offering himself to be the unifying factor to put the party together.

Bold and fearless

On Sunday morning when the doors at Wisma MCA are open, delegates should perhaps reflect on a few things before they cast their votes.

One of which is the 308 (March 8 general election) political tsunami where Barisan Nasional was trounced. It then lost its power grip in several states which fell to the opposition.

That was a political disaster. The people were angry with Barisan and the Chinese were angry with MCA for not standing up for their rights.

Another point to ponder is that the party can ill afford to have a "yes man" in the Cabinet as it has to be answerable to the six million Chinese in the country.

The party leadership has to be assertive and driven by a single belief of being fearless and bold and not submissive. Anything less is not acceptable.

MCA leaders are facing the 2,378 delegates for now and those chosen this Sunday will be judged by the people in the general election to come.

If ever their Key Performance Index (KPI) falls below par, it will be reflected in the ballot boxes and a repeat of the 308 political tsunami or worse, a disaster of greater proportion.

 courtesy of Malaysian Mirror

No comments: