What if MCA chooses to contest in Kuala Kubu Baharu?

What if MCA chooses to contest in Kuala Kubu Baharu?
MCA has faced calls from two of its leaders from the Selangor chapter to contest in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election that will be held on May 11 (Pic credit: Wikipedia)

MCA has been facing calls from a handful of its youth leaders in Selangor to contest in the upcoming Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election in recent weeks.

On April 1st, Petaling Jaya MCA Youth Chief Teoh Tuck Wah and Selangor MCA Youth Chief Tan Jie Sen were reported as having urged their party to contest in the by-election.

Teoh argued that contesting the polls will help MCA to reclaim its position as a “champion of the Chinese community”. 

“MCA can offer a credible alternative to both the conservative Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the DAP/Pakatan Harapan coalition, focusing on pragmatic solutions and responsible governance,” he was quoted as saying in a Free Malaysia Today news report.

Meanwhile, Tan suggests that his party contest under an independent ticket and assume the role of opposition in the state assembly should it win the seat. He argued that if DAP can play the opposition role in Sarawak despite partnering with GPS in Putrajaya, then it should be acceptable for MCA to do the same.

 What if MCA chooses to contest in this by-election?

To date, party president Wee Ka Siong is yet to respond to the independent bid suggested by the duo. 

But what if MCA decides to contest in this by-election? The answer is simple: MCA would face another electoral humiliation.

Let us look back to the party’s history in Kuala Kubu Baharu and Selangor itself. MCA represented the constituency for eight terms from 1974 until 2013 when it lost the seat to DAP’s Lee Kee Hiong in the 2013 (13th) general elections. Lee went on to represent the constituency for three terms until her death on March 21st following a long battle with ovarian cancer.

MCA failed to wrest Kuala Kubu Bharu as well as any other seats in the state from Pakatan Harapan/Pakatan Rakyat since 2013. Worse, the party also failed to win back any parliamentary seats in Selangor after being trounced in the 2008 (12th) general elections.

With MCA having suffered from massive humiliation in past elections, what makes these Youth leaders think that the tide will turn toward their party’s favour this time around? 

Should MCA contest in Kuala Kubu Baharu,  it can expect itself to be accused of splitting the votes to help Perikatan Nasional (PN) win the seat. How would the party respond to such accusations?

In addition, it would also be accused of having mounted this independent bid out of disappointment for being (allegedly) sidelined by the unity government - with zero government positions given to its leaders. What counter-arguments would MCA be able to pose against such accusations?

It is also worth pointing out that we have witnessed ex-BN and PH politicians contesting as independents in past elections when they were not re-nominated by their respective parties. How different would MCA’s independent bid be from these politicians?

MCA would be seen as nothing but a mere child throwing tantrums because things are not going their way, should it decide to take down this route - as wanted by its youth leaders. 

MCA president Wee Ka Siong is yet to respond to the calls from within the party for it to contest in Kuala Kubu Baharu (Photo credit: MCA Facebook Page)

Siphoning some Umno votes away from PN

As PH and PN are gearing up for this by-election, it is worth pointing out that we might see the repeat of the voting trend of Umno voters backing Perikatan Nasional  - which was evident during the 2022 general elections, the 2023 state elections, as well as Pulai and Simpang Renggam by-elections. 

PN, which has been reliant on Umno voters, might see itself engaging in a tug-of-war with MCA to win this voter group, should the latter throw its hat into the ring.

Why so? Some Umno voters might consider backing MCA’s candidate as they would feel much more comfortable backing their fellow BN partner rather than voting for PN.

That being said, we can expect a small number of Umno voters in this constituency - say 10 to 20% - to back an MCA candidate as a vast majority of them will be backing PN. Therefore, other than siphoning some Umno votes away from PN, MCA would not be able to do much should it contest in this by-election. 

In conclusion, it would be a mistake for MCA to contest in this by-election - as desired by Tuck Wah and Jie Sen - and it could only expect itself to be humiliated in the ballot box yet again.

Even worse, MCA would risk straining intra-party relations within BN, and the unity government - which would end up hurting the party in future elections due to internal boycotts. Therefore, the party should wait till the next state elections to contest this seat in the event both PH and BN are not working together. 

This party, which has been soundly rejected by the Chinese community, needs to take its time to do more soul-searching and look into why the community rejects it, as well as the ways to win back the community’s trust towards it. 

Till then, Ka Siong should not entertain these calls coming from within his party to contest in Kuala Kubu Baharu. 


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