KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — MCA leaders refuted today a former soldier’s allegation that it merely represents ethnic Chinese voters, saying it stands for all Malaysians as a component party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woon said Mohd Ali Baharom, better known as Ali Tinju, should not seek cheap publicity by bringing race into the Kota Raya controversy that started as a fraud case.
“Who is Ali Tinju to represent the Malays? And who is he to call MCA a party that is defending the Chinese only and let alone the cheaters?” Chong challenged.
“Malaysia is multicultural country and we are where we are today because of Barisan Nasional and its component parties,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
In a phone interview with ProjekMMO, Malay Mail Online’s sister publication in Bahasa Malaysia yesterday before his arrest, Mohd Ali claimed MCA was a party that defended “cheating Chinese” and urged the BN component party to take responsibility for the actions of the ethnic group that it represents.
The former soldier, whose Merah 1Malaysia movement claims to champion Malay rights, told MCA to “school” its people first, after the leaders pointed out that race has nothing to do with dishonest merchants in the wake of an alleged handphone scam at Kota Raya shopping complex last week.
Mohd Ali also suggested MCA join DAP, adding that their union would allow him to better attack the party.
MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said he will not stoop to Mohd Ali’s level to debate the matter, when contacted for his response.
He said MCA was among the country’s pillars that had played a key role in its founding and has been a bedrock to other BN partners when the dominant Malays were divided.
“History has shown that MCA helped our component parties when they were in trouble and likewise when the Malays were divided by the reformasi movement,” he told Malay Mail Online, referring to the Malay split in the late 1990s over the arrest and subsequent prosecution of sacked deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which led to the birth of PKR as a splinter group from Umno, the country’s largest political party.
“We also don’t say the Chinese helped former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad head the country, although statistics obviously showed that Chinese voters helped him,” Ti added.
MCA’s publicity bureau chairman Datuk Chai Kim Sen issued a separate statement today in response to Mohd Ali’s remarks, chiding the self-styled Malay rights champion of trying to fan racial flames within the country.
“Ali Tinju wants to start heated exchanges between BN parties but more sinisterly. He eagerly expects MCA to rebut from a racial angle so he could skew the rebuttal into a racial issue and initiate backlashes from various communities.
“We are smarter than to fall in a trap that is intentionally set up for us,” the senator said in his press statement.
Mohd Ali is currently under a two-day remand for questioning over remarks he made during the Kota Raya protest he organised last Friday.
He was charged with sedition in July over incendiary remarks issued in connection with another alleged handphone cheating incident outside the Low Yat Plaza, but the Attorney-General later discontinued prosecution, citing lack of evidence.