Malaysian Chinese Association

Malaysian Chinese Association
Malaysian Chinese Association
Persatuan Cina Malaysia
Leader Chua Soi Lek
Founded February 27, 1949
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Newspaper The Guardian
Youth wing MCA Youth Section
Membership Malaysian Chinese
Ideology Nationalism, Conservatism, Social conservatism, Moralist
National affiliation Barisan Nasional
Official colors Blue and Yellow
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Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) (simplified Chinese: 马来西亚华人公会; traditional Chinese: 馬來西亞華人公會; pinyin: Mǎláixīyà Huárén Gōnghuì; Cantonese: MaLoiSaiYa WahYen KoongWui; Malay: Persatuan Cina Malaysia) is a uni-racial political party in Malaysia that represents the Malaysian Chinese ethnicity; it is one of the three major component parties of the ruling coalition in Malaysia called the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Malay, or National Front in English.

Along with the largest and third largest component party in BN, i.e. United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), MCA has a strong influence over the political arena in Malaysia. Through its substantial holding of companies such as Huaren Holdings, MCA also controls five other significant media press companies, i.e., The Star, being Malaysia's best-selling English language newspaper Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nanyang Siang Pau, and China Press, being three of the best-selling Chinese newspapers in Kuala Lumpur and Central Region of West Malaysia; and Guang Ming Daily being a smaller press in northern West Malaysia as the owner of these four presses are owned by media tycoon Tiong Hiew King where his family members are the major party of the ruling coalition in Sarawak. Over the years, the domination of media press caused major resentments in the sub-divided party, with a so-called "Team B" of the MCA and the press reporters for breaching freedom of the press in the country.

MCA performed poorly in the last general election held in 2008. This, along with continued factionalism has raised concerns over the party's relevance in the Malaysian political arena.[1][2]




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The establishment of the Federation of Malaya did not go down well with the Chinese, whereby favourable conditions for obtaining citizenship for the Chinese and other non-Malays were withdrawn. The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) was formed on February 27, 1949 under the leadership of a Straits Chinese businessman, Tan Cheng Lock who frequently raised grievances over the citizenship terms that were set when the Federation was established.[3] As a result, communal tensions between the Malays and Chinese surfaced, and Onn Jaafar, who was then leader of the United Malays National Organisation, kept his distance from Tan.

Tan was a former member of the Malayan Anti-Japanese League. However, the initial members of the MCA were mainly Kuomintang (KMT) members who joined as an alternative and also in opposition to the Malayan Communist Party. This formation was with the implicit support by post-World War II British Reoccupation Authority. At that time, the MCA members then were divided according to their respective home states.

The first leaders of the MCA were Kuomintang army leaders. Leong Yew Koh, was a KMT major general who became a cabinet minister and later became governor of Malacca; Malaysia's first minister of finance, Tun Henry H.S. Lee, was a colonel; and Dr Lim Chong Eu, the leader of the Radical Party, and joined the MCA in 1952, was a colonel (medical) doctor in the Kuomintang.

Tan Cheng Lock did not enter the cabinet on independence. This was believed to be because his rival, Tun H.S. Lee, from Selangor, was in. Others thought that this was due to health reasons.

Post-May 1969 riots

The third Malaysian general elections were held on May 10, 1969. Of the 33 parliamentary seats contested, the Malaysian Chinese Association managed only to retain 13. The MCA lost control of the Penang State Government. In 1974, Tan Siew Sin resigned from all of his party and government posts on April 8 for "health reasons".


In 1985, Tan Koon Swan, who was sacked from the party a year earlier, won the presidential election with the largest majority in the party's history.[4][5] However, in the following year, he was charged with abetting criminal breach of trust relating to his private business dealings in Singapore, and resigned from the presidency.[6] Koon Swan also originated the Deposit-Taking Cooperatives (DTCs), which sought to accumulate capital for Chinese Malaysians through investments. The mismanagement of the DTCs' funds led to a scandal, with the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, stepping in to freeze the assets of up to 35 DTCs. The total loss was estimated to be RM3.6 billion, and the depositors only recovered 62% of their deposits.[7]

Koon Swan was succeeded by his deputy Ling Liong Sik, then 43. He assumed the presidency when the party was still rife with factionalism and faced disillusionment with the Chinese community over the Deposit-Taking Cooperatives scandal.[8] Ling spent his early years as president working to resolve MCA's financial problems, raising funds throughout the nation while restructuring the party's assets.[9] Internal power struggles continued as Ling was nearly challenged for the presidency by his deputy Lee Kim Sai, who withdrew at the eleventh hour. Lee eventually retired in 1996 and was replaced as deputy president by Lim Ah Lek.[10]

Ling then presided over a period of relative peace within the party, and worked to maintain the interests of the Chinese community through a quiet, closed-door approach within the government.[11] He expanded the MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman College through fund-raising and government contributions, as well as set up Tunku Abdul Rahman University in 2001.[9][11] At the height of his power, MCA performed well in the 1995 and 1999 general elections, boosting the party's standing within the Barisan Nasional coalition as well as Ling's personal relationship with BN leader and prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.[9][11]

However, by 1999, factionalism began to rear its ugly head in the party again. Deputy president Lim Ah Lek announced his intention to retire as a minister and agreed with Ling to nominate his protégé Chan Kong Choy to the Cabinet after the 1999 elections. However, Ling nominated his own protégé Ong Ka Ting as a minister at the expense of Chan, causing discontent with members aligned to Lim, which became known as "Team B" among party members. The Ling faction was known as "Team A."[10][11]

Tensions flared further after MCA, through its holding company Huaren, moved to acquire the independent daily Nanyang Siang Pau. This was vehemently opposed by Team B, fearing a complete control of the Chinese media by Team A. They were joined by Chinese journalists and non-governmental organisations, who made their opposition public through demonstrations.[11] The situation got farcical when chairs were thrown during the 2001 Youth general assembly over the issue.[12] Huaren eventually succeeded in taking over Nanyang Siang Pau.

Mahathir, as BN leader, eventually stepped in to resolve the conflict, suggesting a "peace plan" among the factions. The scheduled 2002 party elections were cancelled, while Ling and Lim were to step down and be replaced by their respective protégés.[11]


In May 2003, the leadership transition occurred as planned. Ong Ka Ting, who was then a vice president succeeded Ling Liong Sik as president, while Chan Kong Choy succeeded Lim Ah Lek as deputy president. The Ong-led MCA contributed to Barisan Nasional's overwhelming victory in the 2004 general elections. During the 2005 party elections, Teams A and B ran on a united front, easily quashing the challenge by vice president Chua Jui Meng (for president) and secretary-general Ting Chew Peh (for deputy president).[11]

The Ong-Chan leadership continued the soft approach to protecting the Chinese community's interests.[11] Meanwhile, racial issues flared up again after the 2004 election, with then United Malays National Organisation Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein's waving of a keris in public being the most significant event.[13]

In early 2008, vice president and Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, a prominent Johor member, was involved in a sex scandal. DVDs of Chua having sex with a woman were circulated in Johor, prompting Chua to resign all his political positions, including as Member of Parliament.[14] Chua blamed his political enemies within the party for plotting his downfall, covertly accusing them of feeling threatened by him.[15]

In the March 2008 general elections, MCA fared badly, winning only 15 parliamentary seats and 32 state seats, less than half the number of seats they won in the previous election. Ong decided not to contest the presidency during the party elections later that year, to allow a new leader to take over. The October 2008 party election marked a realignment of the party's factions, with the return of Chua Soi Lek to the fold. Ong Ka Ting's (non-publicly) anointed successor was vice president Ong Tee Keat.[16] Meanwhile, Chua entered the race for deputy president, facing among others, Ong Ka Chuan, the elder brother of Ka Ting. Ong Tee Keat won the presidency comfortably, while Chua edged out Ka Chuan. Following his victory, Tee Keat pledged reform and reaching out to more young voters in order to revive the party.[17]


After the 2008 leadership change, factional infighting continued, while the relationship between the top two leaders remained tense. Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek had engaged in a war of words before the election, and Chua was sidelined by Ong from taking an active role in the party's leadership, being confined to minor positions within the party and excluded from government posts.[18] He was sacked by MCA in August 2009 for damaging the party's image with his sex scandal more than a year prior.[19]

Despite being shot down for the second time by the party, Chua refused to give in. His supporters forced an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which passed a vote of no confidence against incumbent president Ong and annulled the expulsion of Chua. The EGM, however, failed to reinstate Chua as deputy president.[20] Ong and Chua both refused to resign, and pledged to set aside their differences under the "greater unity plan."[21] However, this was opposed by vice president Liow Tiong Lai, previously aligned to Ong, who demanded Ong step down after losing the vote of confidence and that new elections be held.[22] This set in motion a new leadership crisis, which lasted almost six months.

Finally in March 2010, Chua, along with his supporters in the central committee (CC) resigned. Along with the resignations of Liow's supporters in the CC, more than two-thirds of the CC had vacated their seats, paving the way for an election per the party constitution.[23] The subsequent election saw Chua defeating incumbent Ong Tee Keat and former leader Ong Ka Ting in the race for president, while Liow defeated Kong Cho Ha in the contest for deputy president.[24]

Chua, as president, and his deputy Liow have pledged to cooperate, despite leading different factions, a pattern that has repeated itself in the MCA over the years.[25]


On January 1, 2008, the former party vice president Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek admitted that he was the person featured in a sex DVD that was circulated in Johor. He claimed no involvement in the filming or production of the DVD in question. [4] On January 2, 2008, he formally announced his resignation from all posts including Member of Parliament for Labis, Vice Presidency of the MCA, and as Health Minister at a press conference.[5]

In the same month, MCA leader Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun warned her Chinese voters for not letting fewer MCA representatives happen in Barisan Nasional in order to prevent another May 13, 1969 riot from happening. This has caused a major resentment in the Chinese community as their smaller existence in the Barisan Nasional coalition are told to cause a new riot to break out. [1]


Incumbent leadership of MCA was elected by general assembly delegates at 28 March 2010.

  • President: Chua Soi Lek
  • Deputy President: Liow Tiong Lai
  • Secretary-General: Kong Cho Ha
  • 1st Vice President: Ng Yen Yen
  • 2nd Vice President: Donald Lim Siang Chai
  • 3rd Vice President: Chor Chee Heung
  • 4th Vice President: Gan Ping Sieu
  • Vice President(Youth Chief): Wee Ka Siong
  • Vice President(Wanita Chief): Yu Chok Tow
  • Treasurer-General: Tan Chai Ho
  • National Organising Secretary: Tee Siew Keong

On 10 October 2009, an Emergency General Meeting was held. A vote of no confidence against Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat got through by 14 votes while Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek failed to be reinstated as deputy president. The delegates, however, voted for Dr Chua to remain as a MCA member.

MCA members of the 12th Parliament of Malaysia

  • Johor
    • P142 - Labis - Chua Tee Yong
    • P148 - Ayer Itam - Wee Ka Siong
    • P152 - Kluang - Hou Kok Chung
    • P158 - Tebrau - Teng Boon Soon
    • P162 - Gelang Patah - Tan Ah Eng
    • P163 - Kulai - Ong Ka Ting
    • P165 - Tanjong Piai - Wee Jeck Seng
  • Perak
    • P70 - Kampar - Lee Chee Leong
    • P74 - Lumut - Kong Cho Ha
    • P77 - Tanjong Malim - Ong Ka Chuan

List of presidents

  1. Tun Tan Cheng Lock (27 February 1949 to March 1958)
  2. Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (March 1958 to July 1959)
    Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
  3. Tun Tan Siew Sin (November 1961 to April 1974)
  4. Tan Sri Lee San Choon (April 1974 to March 1983)
    Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)
  5. Tan Koon Swan (November 1985 to September 1986)
  6. Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik (September 1986 to May 2003)
  7. Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting (May 2003 to October 2008)
  8. Datuk Ong Tee Keat (October 2008 till 27 March 2010)
  9. Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek (28 March 2010 till Present)

Acting President

  1. Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting) (July 1959 to November 1961)
  2. Datuk Dr. Neo Yee Pan (acting) (March 1983 to November 1985)

See also


  1. ^ Wong, Chin Huat (2009-10-07). "MCA’s irrelevant civil war". The Nut Graph. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "MCA totally irrelevant to the Chinese". Malaysiakini. 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ Bayly, Harper, Forgotten wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia, pg 502-3
  4. ^ "Mr Tan Koon Swan was yesterday elected president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) by a landslide.". Asian Wall Street Journal. 25 November 1985. p. 16. 
  5. ^ "MCA: New Beginning.". Malaysian Business. 1 December 1985. p. 5. 
  6. ^ Tan Koon Swan, Malaysian Chinese Association,, retrieved July 6, 2010 [dead link]
  7. ^ Wong, Chin Huat (October 7, 2009), MCA’s irrelevant civil war, The Nut Graph, 
  8. ^ Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, The Star (Malaysia), December 31, 2003, 
  9. ^ a b c Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Malaysian Chinese Association,, retrieved July 6, 2010 [dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Can Ong Ka Ting or any other ex this or that save MCA?". Aliran. March 16, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Chin, James (October 29, 2009). "Tussle between MCA top two — Redux". Centre for Policy Initiatives. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ Ng, Boon Hooi (August 9, 2001). "MCA Youth launches inquiry into AGM violence". Malaysiakini. 
  13. ^ Gatsiounis, Ioannis (November 23, 2006), The racial divide widens in Malaysia, Asia Times, 
  14. ^ "Chua resigns after sex scandal". The Star (Malaysia). January 2, 2008. 
  15. ^ Edwards, Audrey (January 4, 2008). "Chua blames downfall on hard work". The Star (Malaysia). 
  16. ^ Ng, Boon Hooi (October 3, 2008). "MCA reform: Real or imaginary?". The Nut Graph. 
  17. ^ "Tee Keat wins, Soi Lek is MCA No. 2". The Star (Malaysia). October 18, 2008. 
  18. ^ Loh, Deborah (April 30, 2009), Pakatan Rakyat courts Chua Soi Lek, The Nut Graph, 
  19. ^ "Soi Lek expelled". Malaysiakini. August 26, 2009. 
  20. ^ "MCA EGM: Delegates make dramatic decisions". The Star (Malaysia). October 10, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Greater unity plan revealed". The Star (Malaysia). October 23, 2009. 
  22. ^ "New EGM mired in legal wrangling while Ong pushes unity plan". The Malaysian Insider. November 4, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Soi Lek quits, fresh MCA polls imminent". The Malaysian Insider. March 4, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Soi Lek wins, Liow is MCA No. 2". The Malaysian Insider. March 28, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Liow will cooperate with Dr Chua". The Malay Mail. March 28, 2010. 


  • James Chin. The Malaysian Chinese Dilemma: The Never Ending Policy (NEP), Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Vol 3, 2009
  • Chin, James (2006). "New Chinese Leadership in Malaysia: The Contest for the MCA and Gerakan Presidency". Contemporary Southeast Asia (CSEA), Vol. 28, No. 1 (April 2006).
  • Chin, James (2000). "A New Balance: The Chinese Vote in the 1999 Malaysian General Election". South East Asia Research 8 (3), 281–299.
  • Chin, James (2001). "Malaysian Chinese Politics in the 21st Century: Fear, Service and Marginalisaton". Asian Journal of Political Science 9 (2), 78–94.
  • Goh, Cheng Teik (1994). Malaysia: Beyond Communal Politics. Pelanduk Publications. ISBN 967-978-475-4.
  • "National Front parties were not formed to fight for Malaysian independence". Malaysia Today. by Pillai, M.G.G. (Nov. 3, 2005)

External links

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