The Penang Association of F-Class Contractors president Tahir Jalaludin Hassan described the Chinese-based party's recent comments that the state mostly awards contracts to Malays as "malicious".
As they are awarded based on an open tender system, he said, state MCA wanita chief Tan Cheng Liang's comment sounded "racist and baseless".
"When MCA accused Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as being anti-Chinese for awarding contracts to Malays, the party displays its own racist attitude.
"This sounds like an insult to the Malays, that we are unable to compete and are unable to win contracts through an open tender system," Tahir (right) said during a press conference in Penang yesterday.
"We urge MCA to retract their extreme statement which labelled Lim anti-Chinese, and to apologise, not only to him but to all Malay contractors in Penang," he added.
Cheap publicity or desperation
Tahir questioned Tan's motive - whether she was seeking "cheap publicity" or so desperate that she had to resort to racial politics in making the controversial comment.
He urged Malay NGOs and Umno to condemn her statement as it was a reflection of the racism inside MCA.
The response comes after the Penang branch of the Malay Contractors Association (PKMM) lambasted MCA for stoking racial sentiments by questioning the open tender system which has seen bumiputera winning contracts from the state government.
Tan found herself in the soup when she criticised Lim for awarding only two (or 0.2 percent) out of 968 projects worth RM125 million to non-bumiputera under the open tender system.
Her accusations were contradictory to Umno's - a component party with MCA in the BN - which frequently condemned Lim for allegedly marginalising the Malays, with several of its sponsored NGOs havingprotested against his "anti-Malay" attitude.
Meanwhile, Tahir further clarified that the contracts issued by the state government to class 'F' contractors was carried out for the first time under the Pakatan Rakyat government without any element of cronyism or nepotism.
He added that the contractors are no longer required to refer to the chief of any party as in the past.
Truth from past bares fang
The open tender system, they added, had opened the opportunity for all class F contractors, deprived of the chance earlier to bid for projects as they were without 'political cables".
"Remember that class F licenses are issued by the federal government led by the BN and not by the state government," he said.
"We feel strange and question why MCA is making a fuss over this in Penang when at the federal level, it is the BN, including MCA (as a component party), which had started this," he added.
Tahir said Tan (left), as former Jawi assemblyperson, should have voiced out her dissatisfaction instead of keeping silent when she was in the government.
That was the time, he added, that many class F projects were initiated by the state and federal governments when there was no such thing as the open tender system.
Tahir said when Malay contractors are awarded projects, other ethnic groups also tend to benefit as they own hardware shops.
"The Chinese are involved in skilled jobs related to iron and wood, construction work also involves many workers who are non-Malay," Tahir added.
He said Tan should look at the bigger picture where mega-projects are given to companies by the federal government.
He urged Tan not to victimise for "personal gains" the 1,277 class F contractors who are only able to win projects below RM200,000.
God bless us all should Penang fall back to the BN.