Report: MCA Threatened to Quit BN if Not Allowed to Contest in Tg Piai

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A source within Umno alleged that MCA pressured the Malay nationalist party to allow its Barisan Nasional (BN) ally to contest the Tanjung Piai by-election.

Berita Harian reported the person as claiming that MCA threatened to pull out from the coalition if Umno field its candidate instead.

The source said the pressure came from MCA’s central executive committee.

“They wanted to leave if Umno insisted on contending. MCA convinced Umno they could win based on the analyses conducted.

“After listening to the arguments, Umno’s Supreme Working Council decided to give way to MCA,” it said.

However, party president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong denied MCA pressured Umno, adding that this sounded like rumours from rivals.

“What threats? We made the decision rationally, having worked together for over 60 years. There is nothing that cannot be brought to the discussion table.

“We look at the best arrangement and decision made for BN, on the basis of the sentiment of friendship and loyalty,” he said.

Just days after the seat fell vacant upon the death of incumbent Datuk Dr Mohd Farid Md Rafik of Pakatan Harapan (PH) on Sept 21, both Umno and MCA have been gunning for the opportunity to field a candidate under the BN banner.

MCA based its claim on the fact that it had traditionally been given the seat, but Umno contended that since the Chinese party failed to win, it should pave the way for others.

The announcement on Wednesday night that MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng would be BN’s candidate in Tanjung Piai left many in Umno peeved.

Ben Tan

The party’s Perlis chief Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said if BN wanted to win, Umno should be fielding the candidate.

In an immediate reaction, political analyst Khoo Kay Peng agreed that BN must remain multiracial because “for any coalition to govern the country, it has to have a multiracial face”.

“It has to represent the major ethnicities. But going right wing, or Malay only, (such a government) may be more difficult to sustain,” he said.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi gave a less dramatic account of the negotiations that led to Wee’s candidacy.

“Despite strong sentiments against fielding an MCA candidate, the discussion among Umno members was amicable,” he said yesterday.

“What’s important is that everyone agrees to cooperate in helping Wee to win. BN’s objective is to win and contribute to the people in Tanjung Piai, not focus on the candidate’s race,” he added.

Tomorrow is nomination day and if there is a contest, polling will be done on Nov 16.