Malaysian Chinese Association

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Malaysian Chinese Association
President Liow Tiong Lai
Deputy President Wee Ka Siong
Founded 27 February 1949
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Newspaper The Guardian
Youth wing MCA Youth Section
Membership Malaysian Chinese
Ideology Nationalism, conservatism, social conservatism, moralist
National affiliation Barisan Nasional
Colors Blue and yellow
7 / 222
State Assemblies:
12 / 576

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) (simplified Chinese: 马来西亚华人公会; traditional Chinese: 馬來西亞華人公會; pinyin: Mǎláixīyà Huárén Gōnghuì; Jyutping: maa5 loi4 sai1 aa3 waa4 jan4 gung1 wui2; Malay: Persatuan Cina Malaysia) is a uni-racial political party in Malaysia that represents the Malaysian Chinese ethnicity; it is one of the three major component parties of the ruling coalition in Malaysia called the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Malay, or National Front in English.

Along with the largest and third largest component party in BN, i.e. United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), MCA has a strong influence over the political arena in Malaysia. Through its substantial holding of companies such as Huaren Holdings, MCA controls two significant media press companies. Malaysia's best-selling English newspaper (The Star) and one of the best-selling Chinese newspapers in West Malaysia (Nanyang Siang Pau) are controlled by MCA. Over the years, the domination of media press caused major resentments in the sub-divided party, with a so-called "Team B" of the MCA and the press reporters for breaching freedom of the press in the country.

MCA performed poorly in the last two elections, securing only 15 seats in 2008 and decreasing its share to only 7 seats in 2013. This, along with continued factionalism has raised concerns over the party's relevance in the Malaysian political arena.[1][2]


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The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) was formed on 27 February 1949 with the implicit support by the post-World War II British colonial administration. A central purpose of the MCA at the time of its founding was to manage the specific social and welfare concerns of the populations interned in the so-called New Villages created under the Briggs' Plan in response to the Malayan Emergency.[3][4]

The declaration that announced the MCA as a formal political party in 1951 was written by a prominent Straits Chinese businessman, Tan Cheng Lock. In general its early members were landowners or otherwise better off, while the working classes in the New Villages overwhelmingly joined the Socialist Front instead.[5] Many prominent members of the MCA were also Kuomintang (KMT) members opposed to the Malayan Communist Party. Leong Yew Koh, was a KMT major general who became a cabinet minister and later became governor of Malacca; Malaysia's first minister of finance, Tun Henry H.S. Lee, was a KMT colonel; and Dr Lim Chong Eu, the leader of the Radical Party,[disambiguation needed] and joined the MCA in 1952, was a colonel (medical) doctor in the Kuomintang.[6]

May 1969 – 1985[edit]

The third Malaysian general elections were held on 10 May 1969. Of the 33 parliamentary seats contested, the Malaysian Chinese Association managed only to retain 13. The MCA lost control of the Penang State Government. The gain by the opposition led to tension between different communities which erupted into the May 13 Riots. The loss of support for MCA among the Chinese population elicited a comment by the then Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ismail that if MCA continue to lose support, UMNO may stop co-operating with it.[7] Attempts were made by Tan and his successor to regain Chinese support by broadening the party's appeal.

In 1974, prior to the general election, Tan Siew Sin resigned from all of his party and government posts on 8 April for "health reasons". Lee San Choon took over as Acting President, and was then elected President in 1975. The party performed better in the 1974 election, but lost ground again in the following 1978 general election, with the MCA winning only 17 of the 28 parliamentary seats and 44 of the 60 state seats. The 1982 general election however saw a shift in fortune for MCA, when it won 24 out of 28 allocated parliamentary seats and 55 out of 62 state seats.[8] Lee San Choon held the post of President of MCA until he resigned for unspecified reason in 1983,[9] and Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan then led as Acting President until 1985.


In 1985, Tan Koon Swan, who was sacked from the party a year earlier, won the presidential election with the largest majority in the party's history.[10][11] However, in the following year, he was charged with abetting criminal breach of trust relating to his private business dealings in Singapore, and resigned from the presidency.[12] Koon Swan also originated the Deposit-Taking Cooperatives (DTCs), which sought to accumulate capital for Chinese Malaysians through investments. The mismanagement of the DTCs' funds led to a scandal, with the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, stepping in to freeze the assets of up to 35 DTCs. The total loss was estimated to be RM3.6 billion, and the depositors only recovered 62% of their deposits.[13]

Koon Swan was succeeded by his deputy Ling Liong Sik, then 43. He assumed the presidency when the party was still rife with factionalism and faced disillusionment with the Chinese community over the Deposit-Taking Cooperatives scandal.[14] Ling spent his early years as president working to resolve MCA's financial problems, raising funds throughout the nation while restructuring the party's assets.[15] Internal power struggles continued as Ling was nearly challenged for the presidency by his deputy Lee Kim Sai, who withdrew at the eleventh hour. Lee eventually retired in 1996 and was replaced as deputy president by Lim Ah Lek.[16]

Ling then presided over a period of relative peace within the party, and worked to maintain the interests of the Chinese community through a quiet, closed-door approach within the government.[17] He expanded the MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman College through fund-raising and government contributions, as well as set up Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in 2001.[15][17] At the height of his power, MCA performed well in the 1995 and 1999 general elections, boosting the party's standing within the Barisan Nasional coalition as well as Ling's personal relationship with BN leader and prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.[15][17]

However, by 1999, factionalism began to rear its ugly head in the party again. Deputy president Lim Ah Lek announced his intention to retire as a minister and agreed with Ling to nominate his protégé Chan Kong Choy to the Cabinet after the 1999 elections. However, Ling nominated his own protégé Ong Ka Ting as a minister at the expense of Chan, causing discontent with members aligned to Lim, which became known as "Team B" among party members. The Ling faction was known as "Team A."[16][17]

Tensions flared further after MCA, through its holding company Huaren, moved to acquire the independent daily Nanyang Siang Pau. This was vehemently opposed by Team B, fearing a complete control of the Chinese media by Team A. They were joined by Chinese journalists and non-governmental organisations, who made their opposition public through demonstrations.[17] The situation got farcical when chairs were thrown during the 2001 Youth general assembly over the issue.[18] Huaren eventually succeeded in taking over Nanyang Siang Pau.

Mahathir, as BN leader, eventually stepped in to resolve the conflict, suggesting a "peace plan" among the factions. The scheduled 2002 party elections were cancelled, while Ling and Lim were to step down and be replaced by their respective protégés.[17]


In May 2003, the leadership transition occurred as planned. Ong Ka Ting, who was then a vice-president succeeded Ling Liong Sik as president, while Chan Kong Choy succeeded Lim Ah Lek as deputy president. The Ong-led MCA contributed to Barisan Nasional's overwhelming victory in the 2004 general elections. During the 2005 party elections, Teams A and B ran on a united front, easily quashing the challenge by vice-president Chua Jui Meng (for president) and secretary-general Ting Chew Peh (for deputy president).[17]

The Ong-Chan leadership continued the soft approach to protecting the Chinese community's interests.[17] Meanwhile, racial issues flared up again after the 2004 election, with then United Malays National Organisation Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein's waving of a keris in public being the most significant event.[19]

In early 2008, vice-president and Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, a prominent Johor member, was involved in a sex scandal. DVDs of Chua having sex with a woman were circulated in Johor, prompting Chua to resign all his political positions, including as Member of Parliament.[20] Chua blamed his political enemies within the party for plotting his downfall, covertly accusing them of feeling threatened by him.[21]

In the March 2008 general elections, MCA fared badly, winning only 15 parliamentary seats and 32 state seats, less than half the number of seats they won in the previous election. Ong decided not to contest the presidency during the party elections later that year, to allow a new leader to take over. The October 2008 party election marked a realignment of the party's factions, with the return of Chua Soi Lek to the fold. Ong Ka Ting's (non-publicly) anointed successor was vice-president Ong Tee Keat.[22] Meanwhile, Chua entered the race for deputy president, facing among others, Ong Ka Chuan, the elder brother of Ka Ting. Ong Tee Keat won the presidency comfortably, while Chua edged out Ka Chuan. Following his victory, Tee Keat pledged reform and reaching out to more young voters to revive the party.[23]


After the 2008 leadership change, factional infighting continued, while the relationship between the top two leaders remained tense. Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek had engaged in a war of words before the election, and Chua was sidelined by Ong from taking an active role in the party's leadership, being confined to minor positions within the party and excluded from government posts.[24] He was sacked by MCA in August 2009 for damaging the party's image with his sex scandal more than a year prior.[25]

Despite being shot down for the second time by the party, Chua refused to give in. His supporters forced an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which passed a vote of no confidence against incumbent president Ong and annulled the expulsion of Chua. The EGM, however, failed to reinstate Chua as deputy president.[26] Ong and Chua both refused to resign, and pledged to set aside their differences under the "greater unity plan."[27] However, this was opposed by vice-president Liow Tiong Lai, previously aligned to Ong, who demanded Ong step down after losing the vote of confidence and that new elections be held.[28] This set in motion a new leadership crisis, which lasted almost six months.

Finally in March 2010, Chua, along with his supporters in the central committee (CC) resigned. Along with the resignations of Liow's supporters in the CC, more than two-thirds of the CC had vacated their seats, paving the way for an election per the party constitution.[29] The subsequent election saw Chua defeating incumbent Ong Tee Keat and former leader Ong Ka Ting in the race for president, while Liow defeated Kong Cho Ha in the contest for deputy president.[30]

Chua, as president, and his deputy Liow have pledged to co-operate, despite leading different factions,opened the party to non-Chinese and this was a pattern that has changed itself in the MCA over the years.[31]


Incumbent leadership of MCA was elected by general assembly delegates on 21 December 2013.

25 Central committee members:

  1. 马汉顺 Mah Hang Soon
  2. 古乃光 Koh Nai Kwong
  3. 杜振耀 Toh Chin Yaw
  4. 赖俊瀚 Lua Choon Hann
  5. 黄家泉 Ong Ka Chuan
  6. 张秀福 Teoh Sew Hock
  7. 颜天禄 Gan Tian Loo
  8. 陈栋良 Chin Tung Leong
  9. 李煌治 Lee Hong Tee
  10. 江昇俊 Kong Sing Chu
  11. 蔡金星 Chai Kim Sen
  12. 梅振仁 Boey Chin Gan
  13. 黄秀金 Ooi Siew Kim
  14. 林振辉 Lim Chin Fui
  15. 陈书北 Tan Cher Puk
  16. 黄荣贤 Ooi Eyan Hian
  17. 何启文 Hoh Khai Mun
  18. 姚伟豪 Yoo Wei How
  19. 余金福 Ei Kim Hock
  20. 陈德钦 Tan Teik Cheng
  21. 黄祚信 Ng Chok Sin
  22. 蔡寶镪 Chuah Poh Khiang
  23. 陈进明 Tan Chin Meng
  24. 郑联科 Ti Lian Ker
  25. 傅子初 Por Choo Chor.

MCA members in the 13th Parliament of Malaysia[edit]

List of presidents[edit]

  1. Tun Tan Cheng Lock (27 February 1949 to March 1958)
  2. Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (March 1958 to July 1959)
    Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
  3. Tun Tan Siew Sin (November 1961 to April 1974)
  4. Tan Lee San Choon (April 1974 to March 1983)
    Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)
  5. Tan Koon Swan (November 1985 to September 1986)
  6. Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik (September 1986 to May 2003)
  7. Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (May 2003 to October 2008)
  8. Datuk Ong Tee Keat (October 2008 to 27 March 2010)
  9. Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek (28 March 2010 to 20 December 2013)
  10. Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai (21 December 2013 to present)

Acting President

  1. Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
  2. Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)

General election results[edit]

Election Total seats won Outcome of election Election leader
15 / 52
Increase15 seats; Governing coaltion (Alliance Party) Tan Cheng Lock
19 / 104
Increase4 seats; Governing coaltion (Alliance Party) Lim Chong Eu
27 / 104
Increase8 seats; Governing coaltion (Alliance Party) Tan Siew Sin
13 / 144
Decrease15 seats; Governing coaltion (Alliance Party) Tan Siew Sin
19 / 144
Increase6 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Tan Siew Sin
17 / 154
Decrease2 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Lee San Choon
24 / 154
Increase7 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Lee San Choon
17 / 177
Decrease7 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ling Liong Sik
18 / 180
Increase1 seat; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ling Liong Sik
30 / 192
Increase12 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ling Liong Sik
28 / 193
Decrease2 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ling Liong Sik
31 / 219
Increase3 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ong Ka Ting
15 / 222
Decrease16 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Ong Tee Keat
7 / 222
Decrease8 seats; Governing coaltion (Barisan Nasional) Chua Soi Lek

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wong, Chin Huat (7 October 2009). "MCA's irrelevant civil war". The Nut Graph. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "MCA totally irrelevant to the Chinese". Malaysiakini. 10 October 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Nyce, Ray (1973). Chinese New Villages in Malaysia. Singapore: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute. 
  4. ^ Ooi Keat Gin (11 May 2009). Historical Dictionary of Malaysia. Scarecrow Press. pp. lvii, 185. ISBN 978-0-8108-6305-7. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Nyce, Ray (1973). Chinese New Villages in Malaysia. Singapore: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute. p. 115. 
  6. ^ Bayly, Harper, Forgotten wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia
  7. ^ Ting Hui Lee (2011). Chinese Schools in Peninsular Malaysia: The Struggle for Survival. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 124. 
  8. ^ "Tan Sri Lee San Choon". Malaysian Chinese Association. 
  9. ^ "San Choon Resigns". New Straits Times. 24 March 1983. 
  10. ^ "Mr Tan Koon Swan was yesterday elected president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) by a landslide.". Asian Wall Street Journal. 25 November 1985. p. 16. 
  11. ^ "MCA: New Beginning.". Malaysian Business. 1 December 1985. p. 5. 
  12. ^ Tan Koon Swan, Malaysian Chinese Association, retrieved 6 July 2010 [dead link]
  13. ^ Wong, Chin Huat (7 October 2009), MCA's irrelevant civil war, The Nut Graph 
  14. ^ Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, The Star, 31 December 2003 
  15. ^ a b c Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Malaysian Chinese Association, retrieved 6 July 2010 [dead link]
  16. ^ a b "Can Ong Ka Ting or any other ex this or that save MCA?". Aliran. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Chin, James (29 October 2009). "Tussle between MCA top two – Redux". Centre for Policy Initiatives. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  18. ^ Ng, Boon Hooi (9 August 2001). "MCA Youth launches inquiry into AGM violence". Malaysiakini. 
  19. ^ Gatsiounis, Ioannis (23 November 2006), The racial divide widens in Malaysia, Asia Times 
  20. ^ "Chua resigns after sex scandal". The Star. 2 January 2008. 
  21. ^ Edwards, Audrey (4 January 2008). "Chua blames downfall on hard work". The Star (Malaysia). 
  22. ^ Ng, Boon Hooi (3 October 2008). "MCA reform: Real or imaginary?". The Nut Graph. 
  23. ^ "Tee Keat wins, Soi Lek is MCA No. 2". The Star (Malaysia). 18 October 2008. 
  24. ^ Loh, Deborah (30 April 2009), Pakatan Rakyat courts Chua Soi Lek, The Nut Graph 
  25. ^ "Soi Lek expelled". Malaysiakini. 26 August 2009. 
  26. ^ "MCA EGM: Delegates make dramatic decisions". The Star (Malaysia). 10 October 2009. 
  27. ^ "Greater unity plan revealed". The Star (Malaysia). 23 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "New EGM mired in legal wrangling while Ong pushes unity plan". The Malaysian Insider. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  29. ^ "Soi Lek quits, fresh MCA polls imminent". The Malaysian Insider. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  30. ^ "Soi Lek wins, Liow is MCA No. 2". The Malaysian Insider. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  31. ^ "Liow will cooperate with Dr Chua". The Malay Mail. 28 March 2010. 


  • Chin, James. 2013. "It Had to Happen: The Chinese Backlash in the 2008 General Elections" in Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia (SIRD 2013) pp 162–179
  • James Chin. Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Politics a Year Later: Crisis of Political Legitimacy, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs Vol. 99, No. 407, April 2010, pp. 153–162
  • James Chin. The Malaysian Chinese Dilemma: The Never Ending Policy (NEP), Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Vol 3, 2009
  • Chin, James (2006). "New Chinese Leadership in Malaysia: The Contest for the MCA and Gerakan Presidency". Contemporary Southeast Asia (CSEA), Vol. 28, No. 1 (April 2006).
  • Chin, James (2000). "A New Balance: The Chinese Vote in the 1999 Malaysian General Election". South East Asia Research 8 (3), 281–299.
  • Chin, James (2001). "Malaysian Chinese Politics in the 21st Century: Fear, Service and Marginalisaton". Asian Journal of Political Science 9 (2), 78–94.
  • Goh, Cheng Teik (1994). Malaysia: Beyond Communal Politics. Pelanduk Publications. ISBN 967-978-475-4.
  • "National Front parties were not formed to fight for Malaysian independence". Malaysia Today. by Pillai, M.G.G. (3 November 2005)

External links[edit]