An eventful 2018 has ended. We saw a change in the federal government in May, and there hasn’t been a dull moment since.
Last year was not smooth sailing for MCA and its Youth chief, Nicole Wong Siaw Ting, who saw the political party nearly wiped out in the 14th General Elections. Despite the party being at its weakest in history, she’s not giving up.
As the one holding the reins of leadership, 2019 will be her year to revitalise the 69-year-old party. “My aspiration is that MCA can renew and rebrand itself, transforming into a party that engages in the real issues facing the country,” she said.
“I hope the party can provide solutions to various issues faced by the rakyat and become a party that people look up to.”
MCA members have high hopes for Wong to bring in fresh ideas and rejuvenate MCA to reach out to young Malaysians. Wong, the first female MCA Youth chairperson, said she has already begun engaging youngsters across the nation.
“Some told me frankly the reason they refused to join MCA – the party doesn’t really understand what they want,” she said. “I hope to cultivate a new culture in the Youth wing, so that MCA Youth will attract the brightest minds to join. Youths want their voice to be heard.”
As MCA president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said in his policy speech at the annual general assembly in November, joining MCA has to become something “trendy” especially among youngsters.
Wong said MCA Youth will look at various approaches to empower the youth and the rakyat. “We will speak up on issues and we’re ready to take to the streets to fight for a good cause.”
Staying close to the people and listening to their views is the way forward for MCA to gain support, Wong added. MCA Youth members, led by Wong, already joined a flash mob in November last year to protest the government’s decision to abolish the death penalty.
MCA Youth will provide platforms for the youth to voice their opinions and debate current issues. They also plan to organise educational programmes for the rakyat. Wong said this will include conferences, talks and cultural exchange programmes.
“We hope to educate the rakyat and help them make informed decisions for the future.” Topics of focus include politics, international relations, economics and media studies.
Wong sees a light at the end of the tunnel for MCA, in spite of its poor performance in the GE. “It provides an opportunity for the party to reform and rethink its strategy, to do things differently,” she said.
She added that her inspiration is her late father, a permanent member of the party who used to discuss politics at home since she was a child. “I watched him play the role of intermediary between local residents and MCA, helping people to address and solve problems they faced,” she said.
In 2019, Wong wishes for Malaysia to continue on its path towards becoming a more democratic and liberal country. “I sincerely hope Malaysia can do well in all aspects, overcoming all political, social, racial and economic challenges,” she said. “Hopefully, Malaysia can become a leader in the region.”