Teluk Intan: Template for greater cooperation

By Ivanpal S. Grewal

THIS is my inaugural piece for the Star Online and I decided that it is important for me share my views and insight about an issue that is very close to my heart, greater cooperation between the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian People’s Movement Party (Gerakan).

MCA and Gerakan share a long and intertwined history; in fact Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu served as president of both parties, albeit decades apart. Also, over the years many MCA members have joined Gerakan and vice-versa leading to a degree of tension but also creating vast untapped potential for greater cooperation between the parties.

 The recent by-election in Teluk Intan changed this dynamic altogether. In the very first Barisan Coordination meeting chaired by the Mentri Besar of Perak, the MB threw a challenge to both parties to come together. What happened after, in the duration of the campaign, was nothing short of inspiring. For the first time, MCA and Gerakan leaders attended joint coordination meetings and organised ceramahs and walkabouts together. Also, the polling district chairmen of both parties attended meetings together and this is the first time that it happened.

 The direct result was that many Barisan supporters were encouraged and galvanised by the esprit-de-corps and they turned out in droves to vote for the candidate on polling day.

 I believe Teluk Intan proffers a template for greater MCA and Gerakan cooperation which will deliver rich dividends for both political parties. MCA and Gerakan, together with the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) also adopted a common stand on rejecting PAS’s implementation of Islamic criminal law, colloquially known as hudud

 What is important is for the members of both parties to remain true to our struggle for a just and liberal Malaysia in line with the precepts laid down in the Federal Constitution and Rukun Negara.

 We must stand firm and not shy away from our efforts to develop and nurture Malaysia. I am the first to accept that we could have done better in the past.  Now with Gerakan being back in the Cabinet we have a second opportunity that we cannot afford to squander at any cost.

 Beyond pointing out the flaws and the hypocrisy of the opposition especially the DAP, we must offer Malaysians, especially the Chinese and urbanites who are our core constituency, that we understand their aspiration for a clean government, an efficient bureaucracy and equal opportunity. In this respect, we must use our voice in the Cabinet to push this agenda further and it is in the interest of Barisan as a whole for us to do better.

 Many have asked me that how am it that I remain an ardent Barisan supporter when most of my peers my age are avowedly with the Opposition. First of all, the perception that younger (Gen-Y) Malaysia’s are the sole provenance of the Pakatan Rakyat is incorrect. However, I do concede there is work to be done and that is why is important for younger leaders to step up to the plate and lead the challenge to explain our ideology and governance philosophy to them.

 The spirit of cooperation and understanding that emanated from Teluk Intan gives Barisan parties a renewed sense of hope and purpose. The doubling of Chinese support just one year after the last general election has showed us that we can indeed win and gain support from the voters with the right strategy and approach. And I am certain in time to come we will witness more opportunities for us to implement the Teluk Intan template of cooperation. I am certain we will  prevail if we remain true to our struggle for a better Malaysia.






Follow @partigerakan