It is everything to do with Ahmad Ismail at BN party polls
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It has become apparent that Ahmad has single-handedly fuelled the politics at the MCA and Gerakan's respective national polls next month which will inevitably lead to suggestions of exiting from BN.
Even Malay delegates were upset with Ahmad. A former UMNO member from Subang, Md Amin Abdul Jalil, said that the statements were completely uncalled for. He added that if the ongoing discussions with Umno did not bear fruit for Gerakan, members may decide to hop to opposition parties like PKR, although he himself said he would abide by the leadership's final decision on their future. Md Amin said:MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said that the Ahmad Ismail issue was a wake-up call.
"The special position of Islam, Bahasa Melayu and the constitutional rights of all citizens should not be questioned.
You don't see any parties asking for English to be the No. 1 language, but this guy is violating these constitutional conditions. His refusal to apologise shows his hard-headedness. "
Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon also pleaded with the country not to let one man destroy racial harmony.
It has been two weeks already since the Bukit Bendera Umno chief was reported as having said that Malaysian Chinese are squatters in the country.
Still, it appears to have come at the worst possible time for the BN as Umno, MCA and Gerakan are all in the middle of party polls.
Top leaders across the coalition have been trying to put out the bonfire lit by Ahmad. Calls to be calm and rational or talk of pushing for good governance, policy reforms and equitable race relations have been aplenty.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had earlier apologised on behalf of Ahmad and later promised that the rights and interests of non-Malays will be protected under the BN government.
GERAKAN and MCA'S Grassroots Call to Abandon UMNO
Gerakan and MCA have both discovered that their Perak memberships are already suggesting that they sever ties with the BN.
The stage was set last Saturday morning when outgoing Perak MCA Youth chief Datuk Tan Chin Meng said that "Perak MCA Youth, therefore, urges MCA leaders to consider leaving the BN if Umno leaders are not willing to change their attitude."
This mirrored the call by the state's Gerakan membership in mid-August when its chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn said that 80 per cent of the delegates wanted to pull out of the BN as "we still see politicians playing race and religious issues and this is not good for the country."
"Such ways cannot be accepted by members of Gerakan, which practises a non-racial and non-religious approach," he added. His sentiments were echoed by the state and national Wanita chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe.
Selangor Wanita MCA had passed a resolution to push for disciplinary action against Ahmad while the state Youth wing unanimously called for a public apology and insisted that it was time the party become more outspoken and cease to kow-tow to Umno.
Its newly elected youth chief Dr Kow Cheong Wei said the grassroots had given a clear signal that MCA's position in BN had to be evaluated.
Even national MCA youth secretary-general Datuk Wee Ka Siong had his say in the Johor MCA Youth assembly with his continued demands for an apology.
Yesterday, Selangor Gerakan picked up the baton. Having heard their colleagues in Perak, Penang and also the Youth wing in Kedah — who passed a motion to leave the BN if racial and religious disputes could not be resolved — and the fact that leaders in neighbouring KL FT Gerakan have been questioning their position in the coalition, some made thinly-veiled suggestions that despite being wiped out in the March 8 general election, the party was strong enough to go at it alone.
Among them was Phua Hean Sim, a delegate from Pandan, who said that it didn't matter which direction the BN or Pakatan Rakyat was headed towards.
"We are a strong enough ship of our own," he said, adding that Ahmad was NOT the only chauvinist in Umno, implying that the problem would not be solved with just his apology alone.
But Koh believes that it doesn't simply end there as Umno leaders would also be using the issue to trumpet Malay rights in their respective election campaigns.
"Not just MCA and Gerakan but even Umno are having elections and we are all caught in this because leaders don't want to be seen as backing down under pressure so each are showing they are firm and outspoken. There are so many issues but we are being held ransom. We are being diverted from working to save the economy but now we are doing nothing except talking about Ahmad Ismail," he lamented at yesterday's Selangor Gerakan conference.
It remains to be seen whether by the time one of the world's longest surviving ruling coalition does wake up to smell the coffee, it may have turned sour instead of bitter with racial tensions.