Interview by Christina Seah- The Guardian Dec'08
Mei Fun: Wanita MCA will be vocal on national issues apart from women’s issues
On 4 Nov 08, The Guardian managed to catch up with the newly elected Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for a short interview where she shared her views and plans on rebuilding, transforming and bringing new ideas to rejuvenate the women’s wing in MCA and parent body as a whole.
Perception on Wanita MCA
Mei Fun started it off by sharing that, “it has been too long that the public and even members in the party have the misconception that Wanita MCA only emphasizes women’s issues. Even the wing’s leaders have also fallen into the trap thinking that Wanita MCA should only focus on issues related to women only.”
She reiterated that, “the public should not forget that Wanita MCA started off as a political body and has always been one.” However, Mei Fun expressed that the special characteristics associated with the wing such as addressing social issues in terms of assisting the needy, disabled and single mothers should not be forgotten.
“It is such characteristics that made Wanita MCA special and which has empower it to continue to work harder to improve the quality of living of women and the disabled in the country. In addition, the wing has never stopped short in its effort to address and resolve issues related with politics, economy, education and culture.”
Rectifying the perception that Wanita MCA is an ageing wing of MCA
Mei Fun urges Wanita members not to be bogged down with the traditional mindset that their responsibilities lie only in voicing out the rights and interest of women. “The wing members should first change their mindsets and recognize their roles as a Malaysian first in addressing issues in a multi-racial approach and not repeating what they had done in the past i.e. looking at issues from the view as a Chinese-based party only.”
She said that it was time for MCA to be seen as a Malaysian political party emphasizing on a more multi-racial approach in addressing issues concerning the interest of all Malaysians. She added that with the change in paradigm mindset, the party could transcend from a Chinese-based political party to a multi-racial Malaysian political party.
“We should not forget our main role i.e. highlighting and addressing issues concerning all Malaysians regardless of race in a more holistic manner,” reiterated Mei Fun.
Mei Fun expressed that, “Wanita MCA should also give fair attention in addressing issues concerning human rights, economy, press freedoms and independence of the judiciary because what Malaysians want to see now is MCA being more vocal and able to voice out the views of the people regardless of race without fear or favour.”
Plans to transform Wanita MCA
Firstly, Mei Fun expressed that she would like to propose to MCA Youth on the need to set up a “Wanita-Youth Joint Working Committee” to sit down and discuss measures to attract interested youths to join MCA Youth and Wanita MCA. She added that the working committee could come out with creative and innovative ideas in designing activities that cater to the interest and needs of the youths today. To prove her point, Mei Fun expressed that she has appointed six Beliawanis leaders from various states as Central Committee (CC) members by invitation and later those who are capable will be appointed as full CC members in due course.
Secondly, she proposed to train a group of young women speakers and writers who are able to articulate their views well on any issues and party stand to the grassroots. Mei Fun acknowledged that, “currently, the wing is facing a drain in quality speakers and writers, who could debate, articulate, write and present their views well to the public as well as members.” Mei Fun stressed that, “only by producing a group of quality women speakers and writers, the wing could make their voices heard and churn out constructive views and stands to address various issues concerning all Malaysians as a whole.”
Thirdly, in creating business opportunities and empowering women with financial independence, Mei Fun proposed to expand and diversify the functions of the MPTC Lifelong Learning Centre to Lifelong Learning & Economic Development Centre by providing vocational training, business opportunities, employment research and also guidance on business startups.
Fourthly, Mei Fun proposed to set up a Political Strategic Bureau which will be tasked in providing timely response and provide constructive inputs and suggestions on various issues concerning the public. The Bureau will also be entrusted to play an active and leading role in law-making and policy implementation while identifying areas for reform and improvement. To achieve its objectives, the Bureau will recruit talents from the various fields and to meet regularly to adopt an active and responsive role in national issues and government policies.
Lastly, Mei Fun said that, “it is very crucial to differentiate the roles to be played by the party at the branch, division and national level especially in Pakatan Rakyat states of Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan. Only through differentiation of roles that their roles would not overlap and be seen doing similar things to achieve similar objectives which is a waste of party funds and also human resources.”
The road ahead
After MCA suffered its heaviest setback at the March 8 General Elections, Mei Fun expressed that the party must now move on with concrete measures to rebuild and rejuvenate the party. She added that the party could not afford to be complacent where it will risk being wiped out altogether in the next General Elections. Mei Fun reiterated that, “all quarters have a role to play in strengthening and rebuilding the party in this time of hardship.” She urged all party members to stand united and move forward as one in facing the challenges of the new political landscape in the country. On a last note, she calls upon all members “to move forward with courage and with the belief that with hard work and never-say-die attitude, the party could ride out of the current political challenges and restore the people’s trust and confidence in MCA again.”