MCA must devise more practical approach than DAP to win back Chinese voters
SHAH ALAM – Political experts say MCA is facing the challenge of regaining support among Chinese voters in the country.
This comes after the MCA released the results of its party polls for the 2023-2026 term, which saw Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong successfully defending his presidential post for the second time.
A political analyst from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) compared MCA to a sunken ship at the ocean's depths.
He said that resurrecting the party's fortunes would require a herculean effort, much like salvaging a severely damaged ship from the depths of the sea.
"MCA, along with its partner such as MIC, requires a complete overhaul in terms of both the 'ship' itself and its leadership and team if it hopes to reclaim its illustrious past.
"However, this endeavor is no small feat, as MCA now faces a resurgent DAP in the competition for Chinese support.
"While MCA may stand a chance against established figures, DAP is now led by a motivated new leader in the form of the dynamic Anthony Loke Siew Foke," he told Sinar Daily.
He further stressed that Loke is perceived as a practical and effective leader, which has enabled DAP to solidify its position within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
He also hoped that MCA could devise a more practical approach than DAP's current strategy.
Singapore Institute of International Affairs Senior Fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun also commented on MCA's leadership, contending that while many outsiders may believe the party needs new leadership, those within the party might be comfortable with the existing leadership, particularly if those leaders excel in party organisation.
"Malaysian politics are rapidly changing nowadays, with political fortunes shifting frequently between winners and losers.
"Success hinges on how adeptly politicians can navigate to new heights," he added.
Oh further elaborated that MCA's substantial assets amassed over the years ensure the party's ongoing relevance, even as they align themselves with DAP, their political ally.
MCA's track record
In a related matter, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) political analyst Associate Professor Dr Syaza Shukri commented on Wee Ka Siong's track record, noting his past role as a minister and the confidence party members have in him.
Syaza also believed that the present moment is crucial for Wee and the party to regroup and concentrate on MCA's future.
"I also believe that voter sentiment can change," she added.
Syaza also observed that some Chinese voters have expressed dissatisfaction with DAP, potentially paving the way for a resurgence of support for MCA.
Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies Deputy Director Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib@Khalid stressed the prevailing assumption that DAP is the primary party representing the Chinese community, despite the diversity within that community based on dialects.
"Within MCA, there are many potential leaders aside from Ti Lian Ker, such as Wee Jeck Seng, Lim Ban Hong, Tan Teik Cheng, or Dr Pamela Yong," she said.
"To the Malays, MCA holds significant importance, being viewed as moderate, respected, and always open to negotiation.
"Thus, MCA remains relevant.
"However, MCA no longer seems attractive to Chinese voters, and the party must strategise wisely for the 16th General Elections to convince Chinese voters," she added.