KUALA LUMPUR - In an unprecedented move, several thousand people comprising national, state and grassroots members from both MCA and Gerakan will be rallying together this Saturday at Dewan San Choon here.
According to a press conference jointly hosted by MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan and his Gerakan counterpart Datuk Liang Teck Meng, the assembly titled “Stronger Together” is aimed at strengthening the parties’ working relationship for the upcoming general election.
“MCA and Gerakan have a very long experience of cooperation under the structure of Barisan Nasional, especially in upholding the governance of moderation and multiracialism,” Ong said.
Liang added that both parties’ presidents Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong have led their teams on five rounds of discussions in the past two months.
Asked why both parties were holding the rally, Liang explained that the different results in the past two Sarawak state elections, where opposition party DAP only won seven in 2016 compared to 15 in 2011, showed that Barisan component parties have been working quietly.
He also said Gerakan will be contesting 13 state seats and four Parliament seats in Penang, saying the state was its “frontline” and Gerakan wanted to work together with MCA as the biggest Chinese-based political party in Malaysia.
Ong, who is also Tanjung Malim MP, said the cooperation between both parties was not new, recounting that he had attended rallies with the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik in the latter’s constituency in Beruas, Perak.
He explained that the cooperation would take the form of each party mobilising its grassroots to assist in areas where the other party had a candidate standing, in order to win.
“I expect this cooperation to be ongoing, not ad hoc, we are both component parties, not segregate each other.
“We want a win-win situation, adopt the blue ocean strategy to benefit both parties, Barisan and the country as a whole,” said Ong.
Liang said both parties were cooperating on many levels, pointing to his own Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat.
“The two state seats are under Umno, but there is still a lot of cooperation with MCA at the grassroots level, because there are town and district councillors, as well as village heads who are MCA members working to solve people’s problems.
“So while we may know about the cooperation, people don’t know, which is what we aim to make them aware of,” said Liang.