The Malaysian Chinese Association has had a long history and it's not without significance. Formed alongside UMNO and MIC to represent the interests of the Chinese community at a time of racial disunity all the way back in 1947. The MCA yielded Malaysia's first Chinese finance minister in Tun Henry H.S Lee and the Chinese community began to feel reassured that the MCA was indeed there to represent their interests.
My grandfather, who still has an active role in the MCA, would tell us that by joining the MCA, it was truly a platform to serve the Chinese community, which felt they were left external to the affirmative action policies of the government of the day. My grandfather with his huge heart wanted to give back to the community in the light of the wealth he had made. As a result, he managed to build 3 Chinese schools, all of which the MCA took credit for.
Now the MCA is seen increasingly as a lame duck, consistently playing second fiddle to UMNO and running for cover each time they are confronted with a situation. The MCA leaders seem to accept that position quite happily, settling for minor ministries and deputy ministerial positions. But in that time their heads got so inflated, they forgot who they were serving and began serving themselves. RM10,000 a head per table at fund raisers, and companies still pouring money in. What's the point? Too many people have their fingers in the pie. Then Mr. Blow Joe Chan on the street? He gets sidelined in the national agenda.
How did the MCA lose the plot so badly? It's simple. Factions grew within the party, seats felt like fixed deposits at elections, and the people were forgotten. Furthermore, the people began to get sick of racial politics. This is not a matter of Malay vs Chinese vs Indian any more. It is a matter of a Malaysia for Malaysians. We are tired of political parties bickering about racial issues and yet profess to be an united party. It insults the intelligence of all Malaysians and the Chinese community should and would no longer stand for it.
Despite their control over most of the printed media in English and Chinese, including The Star, Sin Chew, Nanyang and China Press as well as Guang Ming, they have failed to inspire confidence in the people. The people quickly turned to the DAP as the alternative. The Chinese tend to give many chances, but once the trust appears to be irreparably broken, it would take a hell of an effort to rebound.
The MCA is quickly following the path of irrelevance. Because of their constant refusal to get their heads out of the clouds, it is little too late. The Chinese community has grown up, grown ears and stopped listening.