Immediately after MCA selected Wong Nai Chee as its candidate for Alor Gajah parliament seat, there was an upsurge of discontent from the party’s grassroot in the region. First there was a Facebook page created to protest the decision and declare support for the incumbent – Koh Nai Kwong, then a protest was held on 15 March 2018 (Thursday) for the same purpose. According to Wong, the party’s decision was a strategic plan to maximise its electoral prospect.
As a right-hand man to the Prime Minister, it is expected that Wong Nai Chee has better access to resources and machineries. Furthermore, Wong Nai Chee is the only MCA candidate who had ever won Kota Melaka parliament seat since 1969. He contested for the first time in 2004 in Kota Melaka. His opponent was the then DAP secretary general Kerk Kim Hock. Despite being a new face to Melaka voters, he won the parliament seat with around 200 majority votes. The opposition suffered badly from the 2004 general election and Kota Melaka was considered a breakthrough for MCA.
Alor Gajah is considered a BN’s “fortress” due to the chances of winning by Barisan Nasional. Alor Gajah has more than 60% Malay voters, around 25% Chinese voters, and is considered a semi-urban constituency. It was crowned with the name of “the safest MCA seat in Malaysia”. As a party that does not receive support from the majority of Chinese Malaysians, MCA has been relying on the number of Malay voters in the constituency for victory.
Considering Wong Nai Chee’s track record as well as his position as the political secretary to the Prime Minister, he belongs to the “elite” category among all MCA candidates. What does it really mean for BN’s chances in Melaka or even Malaysia when even the so called “safest MCA seat” in Malaysia needs to be fielded with an elite soldier from MCA?
The replacement of the incumbent and the episode from the grassroot that followed has not only shown MCA’s desperation for the survival of its leaders, but the confidence of Barisan Nasional in facing the upcoming general election.
If Barisan Nasional and MCA are indeed confident with their prediction that the Chinese supports for them has increased as relative to GE13, then Wong Nai Chee should and must play the role of a typical elite soldier – fight in tougher battleground and contest in Kota Melaka again. The dispute that is taking place right now among MCA grassroot over Alor Gajah candidacy is meaningless and unnecessary, and it only portrays Barisan Nasional’s worry for the general election.