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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

‘DAP, the undisputed champion of Penang’

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:33 PM PDT

Gerakan concedes that DAP has become the new undisputed champion of Penang but will continue to work on strategies to make a comeback as well as focus on new frontiers.

Hawkeye, FMT

A lingering question has emerged following the successful completion of the Gerakan's national party elections last weekend.

The poser – has Gerakan abandoned its former power base, Penang?

Results of its elections seemed to indicate this although officially, party leaders preach about closing of ranks and unity in Barisan Nasional (BN).

But if one analyses it closely, most of the candidates who won were largely not from Penang but from all over the country.

The first casualty was Penang Gerakan chairman Teng Chang Yeow, who lost his bid to become the new president, losing to Mah Siew Keong with a majority of over 500 votes.

Mah, a former party secretary-general has slowly but surely moved through the ranks to become the party's fifth president after his predecessor- former Penang Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon who was forced out after he was unable to break free from a widely held perception that he was subservient to BN's power broker- Umno.

Former Penang Gerakan Youth head Oh Tong Keong lost the wing's national post to upstart Kedah Gerakan Youth head Tan Keng Liang.

During the 80′s and 90′s, Gerakan was mostly top heavy with leaders from Penang and Perak, but this changed after the 2008 general election.

Gerakan is now seen to be gravitating northwards as two of its promising leaders, deputy president Dr Cheah Soon Hai and Keng Liang hail from Kedah.

Its vice-presidential line up is one of the most colourful ever, it is also the first time that a Malay – Dr Asharuddin Ahmad has managed to win such a post, followed by A. Kohilan Pillay and Teo Kok Eng, from Johor, who was rewarded for securing one parliamentary seat for the party.

Dr Asharuddin and Kohilan represent Gerakan's presence in the Klang Valley.

Teo helped Liang Teck Meng retain the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat and Liang is on track to become Gerakan's sole representative in the cabinet if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak accedes to its request to return back to the federal government.

Historically, Gerakan was founded by the human rights driven academician – the late Syed Hussein Al-Atas, who was among several intellectuals forming the party in 1968, as an offshoot from the now defunct Labour Party.

Its political bastion covered mostly Penang and Perak until it lost both states in 2008.

Now its elected leaders are a diversified lot judging from the central committee line-up where only three Penangites; Baljit Singh, Ng Siew Lai and Dr Thor Teong Gee were elected in while the rest are based in Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur or Selangor.

It is said that Sabah should be the party's new frontier because the state has shown that it appreciates Gerakan's multi-ethnic background and moderate political stance.




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