It was indeed rare to see MCA members demonstrate against government policies. However, in politics, nothing is impossible.
MCA youth Puchong Division carrried out a anti-toll hike demon recently. Ordinarily, this action would have been sanctioned by their top leaders. But this time, even Ong Ka Ting has mentioned that MCA members would not be prevented from raising the grouses of the people.
Over the past one year, the people staying in urban areas have not been too happy. First, petrol hike. Then electricity and water tariffs went up. The retail economy was not in too good shape. All these add up to higher inflation rate and most people , especially the middle lower class, feel that their disposible income is shrinking while at the same time, there are not many ways to boost income. People walking in the street feel unsafe as crime rate seems to have go up. Then comes the toll hikes in the region of 20-60% increase.
For the more politically conscious, last year was also a very disappointing year. First, anti corruption promises remained as promises. IPCMC was still in the stage of being mentioned, after being mentioned for more than 3 years. Then the attacks against the administration started from none other than the previous PM. Khairy became the first to raise racial issue, saying that the Chinese will take advantage of the situation when the Malays are disunited. Once the racial issue was started, others joined in, culminating in UMNO delegates’s conference when a youth leader raised his unsheathed kris and someone from the floor asked when he was going to use it. While facts and figures showed that NEP targets have been exceeded, it was just cast aside as being wrong because it was alleged that wrong methology was used. Then a government deputy minister and a full minister gave contradicting figures about NEP in Parliament.
All these add up to one thing. The ordinary people , especially the non Malays in urban areas, feel very unhappy. Many of these ordinary people made up of the rank and files of the grassroots of MCA.
Thus , it is not surpring to see MCA members take to the road to demonstrate. The top leadership’s hands are tied. If they stop their grassroots from demonstrating, they will be seen as insensitive to the peoples’ grouses. If they encourage these members , they will incur the wrath of UMNO.
There lies the dilemma. To speak out will risk offending their big brother. To shut up, they will offend the grassroots.
The leaders of the Non-Bumi parties in BN know that unless there are “feel good” factors emerging in the next year or so, the next election will be very tough for them.
SO it remains for them, as partners within the ruling coalition, to push and convince the top leaders of Barisan Nasional to implement “feel good” policies which are people orientated. So far, I have not seen any yet but hopefully these “rakyat orientated “policies will make their appearances before it is too late.