KUALA LUMPUR- MCA candidates in the next general election must have good command of languages and be proficient in two or three of them - Malay, English and Mandarin.
"Besides, they must have a clean background and display good conduct," said party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
This, he added, was part of a mechanism on the selection of candidates under the party's transformation plan.
Asked to elaborate, Liow said the guidelines were contained in the book on the transformation plan.
Among others, the guidelines listed that the candidates for state seats must have a minimum academic qualification of secondary school while potential Members of Parliament are required to hold a degree or above.
MCA candidates, said Liow, would also be chosen through internal and public surveys to ensure that the party representatives deliver their best service to the people.
The surveys would also help the party pick the most suitable candidates, who would be widely accepted by the voters, Liow told reporters after attending the "roof covering" ceremony of the MCA building for the Kepong division and Jinjang Utara branch here yesterday.
The party, he said, would start preparing its groundwork for the next polls two years after a general election was held.
"I have instructed all branches and divisions to start identifying the candidates for the next general election," he said, adding that the early selection of candidates would enable those hopeful to hit the ground and familiarise themselves with their job scope and local issues in advance.
During the Kajang by-election, the MCA candidate was chosen based on these criteria as well as after a survey showing Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun - who holds a Master's degree in Chinese studies - as coming up top among the list of potential names.
Although the MCA vice-president eventually lost to PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the polls in March, she successfully reduced the vote majority and garnered more support from the Chinese community.
Liow said the party's GE14 preparatory committee, chaired by secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, had identified the modules and details for preparation for the next polls.
"We are starting to move on the ground to make sure that MCA is fully prepared to recover from our bad performance in the last elections," he said.