KUALA LUMPUR - They had barely rebuilt their lives from the ashes of World War II.
It was circa 1950, and half a million Chinese in Malaya were already facing imminent deportation – the decision of the British colonial government to banish them.
This came after the Malayan Communist Party launched an armed struggle against the British in 1948.
The Chinese became victims of that struggle.
It was Tun Tan Cheng Lock, the Malacca Chinese Chambers of Commerce president at the time, who came to their rescue.
Seeing the need for a political platform for his cause, he set up the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) on Feb 27, 1949.
It was in this turbulent era (the Emergency period, 1948-1960) that 465 new villages in various parts of the country were set up to house the Chinese.
The founding president helped the community to rebuild their lives, providing them with shelter and education.
He launched a social welfare lottery to raise funds to help the Chinese in 1950 until the British banned political parties from running lotteries three years later.
Fast forward to the present – after 11 presidents, MCA needed to evolve to face sweeping, unparalleled challenges.
Seeing this, Datuk