Introduction : History of Party Formation
The history of the Malaysian Chinese community can be traced to the 19th century or even earlier. In the 1940s, Malaya, as the country was known then, was a British colony. Because of the communist armed insurrection in the peninsula, the British Government declared a state of emergency and military rule in 1948.
The Chinese residents, sandwiched between the communists and the British Government, suffered miseries and hardships as the communists, who were mostly ethnic Chinese, waged a guerilla war against the British.
A large number of Chinese were detained by the colonial Government, many were deported to China and some were shot dead by the soldiers.
To isolate the rural Chinese community from the guerillas, hundreds of thousands of Chinese were evicted from their homes and re-settled in new villages set up by the British Government.
On 27 February 1949, the Malayan Chinese Association or MCA as it is popularly known, was born out of the need to save the Chinese in Malaya from being repatriated to China. The late Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock was the key man behind the formation of the MCA.
The British plan to deport the Chinese was halted with the birth of the MCA, which took immediate plans to build houses to help resettle the Chinese in the new villages. The MCA also provided food, medicine and monetary aid for these people. After the resettlement, the MCA also helped in securing electricity and piped water to the new villages. Chinese primary schools and public libraries were built for the people.
The Malaysian Chinese Association (“MCA” in brief) was formed on Feb. 27 with Sir Tun Tan Cheng Lock as the inaugural President; Yong Shook Lin as Honorary Secretary and Khoo Teck Ee as Honorary Treasurer. Other founding leaders included H.S. Lee (political/youth/women sub-committee chairman); Tan Siew Sin (publicity sub-committee chairman) and Leong Chong Leng (social welfare/culture subcommittee chairman). Explaining the reasons for forming the party, Tun Tan said, ” The immediate reason for forming our Party was that the Chinese who are loyal to Malaya are made to suffer under the state of emergency. The emergency not only endangered the life of many Chinese, threatening the most basic interests of the Chinese, furthermore it also led others to doubt our traditional loyalty and sincerity to this nation where most of us have considered as our permanent homeland.”