Malaysian Chinese Association
|Malaysian Chinese Association|
|President||Liow Tiong Lai|
|Deputy President||Wee Ka Siong|
|Founded||27 February 1949|
|Headquarters||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Youth wing||MCA Youth Section|
|Ideology||Nationalism, conservatism, social conservatism, moralist|
|National affiliation||Barisan Nasional|
|Colors||Blue and yellow|
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 newspapers, (The Star) which is Malaysia's best-selling English newspaper, and Nanyang Siang Pau which is one of the best-selling Chinese newspapers in West Malaysia.
The party was once the largest party representing the Chinese community, but has performed poorly in more recent elections.
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Formation and early years
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.
The declaration that announced the MCA as a formal political party in 1951 was written by a prominent Straits Chinese businessman, Tan Cheng Lock, its first president. In general, its early members were landowners, businessmen, or otherwise better off, while the working classes in the New Villages overwhelmingly joined the Socialist Front instead. 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, and joined the MCA in 1952, was a colonel (medical) doctor in the Kuomintang.
In 1952, MCA joined force with United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to contest the Kuala Lumpur municipal elections which would lead to the formation of the Alliance Party. The alliance was joined by Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) in 1954 and they contested the first Malayan General Election in 1955 as one body, and the alliance won 51 of the 52 seat contested. MCA won all 15 of the seats allocated.
Tan Cheng Lock was succeeded by Lim Chong Eu after a successful challenge by Lim for the presidency in 1958. Lim attempted to amend the party's Constitution to consolidate the power of the Central Committee, and although amendment was passed narrowly, it also split the party. Prior to the 1959 General Election, Lim pressed for an increase of the allocated number of seats from 28 to 40, but this was refused by UMNO leader Tunku Abdul Rahman. Lim's position was weakened and some members resigned from MCA to contest the election as independent candidates. The party only won 19 of the 31 seats eventually allocated. Lim himself left the party in December 1960, later becoming one of the founding members of the opposition Party Gerakan in 1968. In 1961 Tan Siew Sin, son of Tan Cheng Lock and favoured by Tunku, became MCA's third President. Tan led the party to a firm victory in the 1964 General Election, winning 27 of the 33 parliamentary seats contested.
May 1969 – 1985
The third Malaysian general elections were held on 10 May 1969. MCA faced strong challenges from the new, mainly Chinese, opposition parties Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Gerakan. Of the 33 parliamentary seats contested, MCA managed to retain only 13. MCA also lost control of the Penang State Government to Gerakan. The gain by the opposition parties 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. In order to regain Chinese support, Tan attempted to broaden the appeal of the party previously seen as a party of the taukeh (tou jia, rich men), and invited professionals to join the party.
On 8 April 1974, prior to the general election, Tan Siew Sin resigned all of his party and government posts 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. Lee accepted a challenge from the opposition Democratic Action Party which taunted the MCA's leadership for not daring to contest a seat with large urban Chinese majority, and contested the parliamentary seat for Seremban against the incumbent DAP Chairman Dr. Chen Man Hin. Lee won his challenge, and led his party to a resounding victory, winning 24 out of 28 allocated parliamentary seats and 55 out of 62 state seats. Lee San Choon held the post of President of MCA until he resigned for unspecified reason in 1983, 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Internal power however struggles persisted. In 1993 Ling's deputy Lee Kim Sai indicated that he would challenged Ling for the presidency, but withdrew at the eleventh hour. Lee eventually retired in 1996 and was replaced as deputy president by Lim Ah Lek.
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. 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. Ling led MCA to its best electoral performance thus far in the 1995 General Election, winning 30 of the 34 allocated parliamentary seats and 71 of the 77 state seats, and secured the majority of Chinese votes at the expense of DAP. MCA also performed well in the 1999 General Elections, and the successive electoral victory boosted the party's standing within the Barisan Nasional coalition as well as Ling's personal relationship with BN leader and prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
However, by 1999, the party was again wracked by factionalism. 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." 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. The situation turned farcical when chairs were thrown during the 2001 Youth general assembly over the issue. Huaren eventually succeeded in taking over Nanyang Siang Pau. Huaren also controls The Star and China Press, and the domination of media press caused strong resentments in the divided party, with accusations by factions within MCA as well as outside opponents of editorial interference and claims of a threat to the freedom of the press in the country.
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 stepped down to be replaced by their respective protégés.
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. MCA won 31 of the 40 parliamentary seats and 76 of the 90 state seats allocated. 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).
The Ong-Chan leadership continued the soft approach to protecting the Chinese community's interests. 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.
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. Chua blamed his political enemies within the party for plotting his downfall, covertly accusing them of feeling threatened by him.
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 anointed successor was vice-president Ong Tee Keat. 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.
After the 2008 leadership change, factional infighting continued and the relationship between the Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek remained tense. Chua was sidelined by Ong from taking an active role in the party's leadership, and he was also excluded from government posts. He was then sacked by MCA in August 2009 for damaging the party's image with his sex scandal more than a year prior. In response, Chua's 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. Ong refused to resign despite the vote of no confidence, but pledged with Chua to set aside their differences under the "greater unity plan." However, this was opposed by vice-president Liow Tiong Lai who demanded Ong step down and that new elections be held. 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. 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. Chua and his deputy Liow pledged to co-operate, and opened the party to non-Chinese.
In the 2013 General Election, MCA suffered its worst defeat ever, winning only 7 of the 37 parliamentary seats and 11 of the 90 state seats it contested, leading to calls for Chua's resignation. MCA's poor performance in the two elections, along with continued factionalism, raised concerns over the party's relevance in the Malaysian political arena. Also as a result of its poor performance, there was no MCA representation in the cabinet for the first time since independence due to a resolution that MCA would not accept cabinet posts if it performed badly in the general election.
Chua did not enter the following party poll for president, and in December 2013, Liow Tiong Lai was elected the president of MCA. Liow also re-entered the cabinet after reversing the resolution not to serve in the government.
Incumbent leadership of MCA was elected by general assembly delegates on 21 December 2013.
- President: Liow Tiong Lai
- Deputy president: Wee Ka Siong
- Secretary-general: Ong Ka Chuan
- 1st Vice-president: Lee Chee Leong
- 2nd Vice-president: Hou Kok Chung
- 3rd Vice-president: Chua Tee Yong
- 4th Vice-president: Chew Mei Fun
- 5th Vice-president (Youth Chief): Chong Sin Woon
- 6th Vice-president (Women Chief): Heng Seai Kie
- Treasurer-general: Kuan Peng Soon
- National organising secretary: Yoo Wei How
25 Central committee members:
- Mah Hang Soon (马汉顺)
- Koh Nai Kwong (古乃光)
- Toh Chin Yaw (杜振耀)
- Lua Choon Hann (赖俊瀚)
- Ong Ka Chuan (黄家泉)
- Teoh Sew Hock (张秀福)
- Gan Tian Loo (颜天禄)
- Chin Tung Leong (陈栋良)
- Lee Hong Tee (李煌治)
- Kong Sing Chu (江昇俊)
- Chai Kim Sen (蔡金星)
- Boey Chin Gan (梅振仁)
- Ooi Siew Kim (黄秀金)
- Lim Chin Fui (林振辉)
- Tan Cher Puk (陈书北)
- Ooi Eyan Hian (黄荣贤)
- Hoh Khai Mun (何启文)
- Yoo Wei How (姚伟豪)
- Ei Kim Hock (余金福)
- Tan Teik Cheng (陈德钦)
- Ng Chok Sin (黄祚信)
- Chuah Poh Khiang (蔡寶镪)
- Tan Chin Meng (陈进明)
- Ti Lian Ker (郑联科)
- Por Choo Chor (傅子初)
MCA members in the 13th Parliament of Malaysia
List of presidents
- Tun Tan Cheng Lock (27 February 1949 to March 1958)
- Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (March 1958 to July 1959)
Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
- Tun Tan Siew Sin (November 1961 to April 1974)
- Tan Lee San Choon (April 1974 to March 1983)
Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)
- Tan Koon Swan (November 1985 to September 1986)
- Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik (September 1986 to May 2003)
- Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (May 2003 to October 2008)
- Datuk Ong Tee Keat (October 2008 to 27 March 2010)
- Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek (28 March 2010 to 20 December 2013)
- Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai (21 December 2013 to present)
- Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
- Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)
General election results
|Election||Total seats won||Outcome of election||Election leader|
|1955||15 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party)||Tan Cheng Lock|
|1959||4 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party)||Lim Chong Eu|
|1964||8 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party)||Tan Siew Sin|
|1969||15 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party)||Tan Siew Sin|
|1974||6 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Lee San Choon|
|1978||2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Lee San Choon|
|1982||7 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Lee San Choon|
|1986||7 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ling Liong Sik|
|1990||1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ling Liong Sik|
|1995||12 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ling Liong Sik|
|1999||2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ling Liong Sik|
|2004||3 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ong Ka Ting|
|2008||16 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Ong Tee Keat|
|2013||8 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional)||Chua Soi Lek|
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