Will Gerakan leave BN?

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Over the years, Gerakan has tried to change or reform the Barisan “from within” – or so it likes to claim. Clearly, it has failed. Did the BN instead end up changing Gerakan? The question on many people’s minds is, now what for the party that had governed Penang for close to 40 years?

In a personal comment piece for the New Sunday Times, the former state exco member for Penang, Toh Kin Woon, suggested several options for Gerakan after its disastrous performance in the general election:

One is to stay in BN and have more of the same, with the party unable to abandon its racial character. This is the least desirable for it may lead to the party’s oblivion.

The second is to stay and seek reforms from within. One major reform, and one which had been advocated earlier by the party’s Youth chief, is for all component parties to merge to form a truly multiracial BN.

Besides doing away with racial appeals, it will avert the seemingly lack of parity in the relationship between Umno and the rest.

It was this that had, in part, cost MCA, MIC and Gerakan dearly in the recent elections. The party must, however, give itself a time frame to pursue this major change.

Should it fail to achieve this within the given time span, it must then consider leaving BN and independently develop the party as a multiracial social democratic party.

It could, for instance, join forces with other like-minded parties outside BN to forge an even larger multiracial movement for greater democracy, ethnic equality, gender parity and social justice.

Ultimately, it is up to the leaders and party members to consider these, and other, options for a revival of the party. But reform and change it must, if it is to remain a force that can fulfil the ever-rising tide of expectations of the Malaysian electorate in a rapidly changing world.

This prompted Dr Choong Sim Poey, a life member of Gerakan, to send a letter to the NST. Unfortunately, what was published was only an “emasculated” version. Here is the full version. (The bits that the NST left out are in bold. It looks like you are still not allowed to be critical of Umno in the NST):

I refer to Dr Toh’s analysis of Gerakan’s problems (New SundayTimes, 23 March 2008). His concluding lines on the possibility of Gerakan leaving the BN coalition as one of their options to revive the Party is not as radical a suggestion as the public may think. It is an issue familiar to many senior party members.

Even in the 1980s when Tun Lim Chong Eu was the CM in Penang (and de facto leader of the Gerakan), the ‘unfair’ allocation of seats to component parties was a chronic bone of contention. Suggestions raised to break away for this reason were rejected as unseemly and opportunistic. Nevertheless, it was generally agreed that this should remain an option when key issues were in dispute especially when it went against our basic party principles and objectives

Unfortunately, over the years of BN/Umno dominance, this seemed to have been put aside in favour of ‘pragmatic’ politics. This meant accepting anything that the Umno leadership came out with to curry favour with their own members with a total disregard for the position of their coalition partners.

This was tested when Umno sought to undermine Pas by becoming an Islamic State and ‘Ketuanan Melayu‘ became the battle cry for Umno to regain their grass-roots support during which time there was not even a squeak from any Gerakan leaders.

This pragmatic approach to politics by Gerakan included condoning blatant opportunism and cronyism by Umno leaders in the name of the NEP. All this Gerakan willingly accepted in exchange for remaining ‘permanently’ under the BN’s comfort zone, nominally governing the state of Penang, until this shock election defeat.

I am writing this to put in historical perspective the position of Gerakan vis-a-vis the BN. I maintain that there was never any acceptance or assumption that Gerakan’s membership in the BN coalition was a permanent partnership to be maintained at all costs! The Gerakan leadership will now have to seriously consider if the cost paid in this election has been too high!

Dr Choong Sim Poey

Penang

So do you think Gerakan should remain in the BN and hope to influence any reform process in the ruling coalition – or do you think the BN is beyond redemption and Gerakan should leave?

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57 Comments on "Will Gerakan leave BN?"

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James
James

As a member of Gerakan, I strongly advise Gerakan leaders to seriously joining DAP.

gon
gon
Asking component parties to merge in BN is not a msart move. UMNO is an extremist racial party. Any minority race party merging with UMNO would be completely swamped! It is as simple as that. The answer is an emphatic “no”. The correct answer is for Gerakan and other parties to leave BN and join a coalition of Opposition parties. The future of Malaysian politics is in coalition politics. There the only way to look after the interests of what theystand for, would be negotiate for the best deal or “pork-barrel’ as the term is used in politics. The parties… Read more »
Frank Woo
Frank Woo

Gerakan is hard to win back Penang Chinese supporters
especially if Dr Khoo Tsu Kon still a leader to Gerakan if will give a negative impact to Gerakan
the only way is to leave BN join DAP or PKR
if u want to win the next election many of my friends already said Gerakan is out for next election

Suren Menon
Suren Menon

Gerakan, You have …. yourself to UMNO – …

miwaki
miwaki

Gerakan is as good as gone,do you think leaders of Gerakan will be offered seats for next general election if they join PKR or DAP ? Gerakan has to glue to BN because it has no other alternative.

My advice for Gerakan is to leave BN and dissolve the party since it has no more support from the people and it is useless to UMNO.Why must you live under such horrible condition which is worst than a beggar waiting for UMNO to feed you.Don’t you people have any self respect left !

akbar din
akbar din

Gerakan has only two choices if it is sincere in its claim that it is a multi-racial party. Either it joins PKR or DAP. Otherwise, it faces oblivion. Period.

Akbar Din.
Anak Penang.

anarchy2008
anarchy2008
Since when is Gerakan a multi racial party? Yes, during THOSE years when Dominic Puthuchery stood for elections etc but then it became a chinese base party….streamlining to an elite based, educated chinese party. Its easy to blame UMNO….but the Malays especially in Penang did give its votes to BN Chinese candidates. Figures will speak for itself, but not the chinese community, they played out BN, for being too kind and giving everything that they asked for. The Chinese Chambers of Commerce played their role in the demise of Gerakan in Penang, thanks to certain individuals. Thats a fact! When… Read more »
novice101
novice101
Gerakan had tried to reform the BN from within, and what has it got to show – that it has, instead, been transformed by UMNO ! In it deliberations now, it should ponder, very carefully the options opened. The scenarios Dr. Toh and Dr. Choong have painted for its deliberations are very near to the truth. They may not be pretty but they are the hard realities facing Gerakan. To stay in the BN and to have more of the same, is like buying a one-way ticket to “Doomsday’. To stay and to seek reform from within, trying to get… Read more »
Andrew
Andrew

Then the three stooges became two……..

Joe AWK
Joe AWK
Gerakan must leave the BN but cannot join another aprty or coalition. Gerakan can stad alone and build itself up again. Gerakan is a better brand name than PKR, anytime. Gerakan is just unfortunate to be in the company of a racist party like UMNO. Gerakan, go it alone. Gerakan is a better and more viable option than the BN at least in Penang comes the next election. Away from BN, Gerakan has a good future. In BN, Gerakan will die ahead of UMNO. Except for the few … mamak, even the malays will soon ditch UMNO for an alternative… Read more »
Amarit Singh Sekhon
Amarit Singh Sekhon
Personally Gerakan was never in existance, but only used as a hood wink, by UMNO to tell, Penangites, “hello keep voting for the multiracial party of Gerakan and you will enjoy equal rights in the country”. While the selected few Gerakan members were enjoying from the bait, the public was put under the threat of MAY 13. In actaul fact we Penangites should have thrown out the BN in 1990. By our complacancy Penang started detoriating from, what was rightfully theirs, same senario spilled over to other states. I am very sure what has turn out to be on March… Read more »
anak malaysia
anak malaysia

Do you think Gerakan still has a role to play in this post-308GE era? I suggest the leadership listen to the people and not the members only for at the end of the day, it is the people that determine the survival of Gerakan.

Question 1: To leave or not to leave BN?
Question 2: To join or not to join BR?
Question 3: To dissolve or not to dissolve the party? and allow th party to join other political parties
Question 4: To go solo and offer itself as 3rd option to the people?

So, what say you?

Penang Guy
Penang Guy
Does Gerakan do what the party suppose to do ? Gerakan’s Objectives 1. Constitution Of Malaysia & Rukunegara To honour and uphold the Constitution of Malaysia and to sustain the tenets of the Rukunegara. 2. Egalitarian Malaysian Society To strive for an egalitarian Malaysian Society based on humanitarian and democratic principles and to ensure social and economic justice by: eliminating any exploitation and giving full opportunity to everyone for legitimate economic advancement; promoting a just and equitable distribution of wealth; providing adequate and efficient facilities and amenities with proper regulatory control to ensure fair and just pricing; ensuring the ownership… Read more »
Penang Guy
Penang Guy

Gerakan has a lot of leader who are more capable than Koh Tsu koon In terms of leadership. Exp: Dr. Toh , Lee Kah Chun, Mah Siu Keong, Teng Chan Yao, Chia Kwang Chye …

To reinvent the party, Koh has no more excuses to remain as party acting president.

I would like to challenge Gerakan’s youth wing to remove their uncapable leader.

Penang Guy
Penang Guy
Gerakan members are very frustrated to their own leadership. Koh Tsu Koon is a very self – centered person and did not allowed their members to voice out during Gerakan was in power. Before the election, gerakan members have foreseen that their party will not win victory in the coming election due to a lot o issues. They also very angry to their party leader on Penang CM issue. Koh tsu Koon has to decided their direction as soon as possible whether he will stay or leave. He must annouce who is the successor after he had made their decision.… Read more »
Kulo
Kulo

GERAKAN and any other BN parties does not or will not matter anymore if they still want to be ignorant and in denial of the fact that a lot of people rejected them because of many reasons .. for being arrogant, hypocrite and self-centered

paulnaidu

HI:
GERAKAN MAY BE A TROJAN HORSE
READ MY BLOG AT KOPITIAM.BLOG.COM

yh
yh

dr toh, an ex-state exco, has conceded that it is near impossible to change UMNO from within. and the leadership of Gerakan is more concern about their goodies that come along with their position. put these factors together, the answer is as clear as daylight. time for Gerakan to go back to their roots;otherwise its a matter of time the party will degenerate into another PPP with third class status within BN.

Y Leong
Y Leong
Gerakan had lost it’s plot shortly after LKY took over the reins of the party and KTK took over Penang from Tun Lim Chong Eu. I have very little to say of Gerakan the party except to (as in my previous comment) roll over and die. To be fair there are still a few good men in the party and to them, my advise would be for them to get up and walk out of the party which has forgotten all the dreams of their founders. My gripe if with the Rape and pillage of Penang, my home island. As… Read more »
smallworld
smallworld

The party should change its name to :

“Multiracial Gerakan” .

Then dream & wait for Umno to change its name to “Multiracial Umno “.

Syabas. Barisan Rakyat.

Paul Warren
Gerakan is a paradox. It claims to be multi-racial and yet not a single non-Malay from its membership was fielded in the last GE. To speak of Mmulti-racialism and yet condone and contribute towards UMNO hegemony, the Islamic Sate declaration, the abetting of the abuse of NEP, abeting in the cronyism that profits Badawi family related companies, is an oxymoron. Gerakan is tainted by all that nauseats the very mention of UMNO. Gerakan is indeed a willing collborator as well as a beneficiary of all the systemic abuse that was put in place to destroy the very fabric of Malaysian… Read more »
Edward Kong
Edward Kong

Party Gerakan is irrelevant in today’s political environment. It is multiracial party who is RELEVANT and going to take Malaysia to the next decades. Let Gerakan be done with it, those who want to remain can remain and rot together with their “Master”, and for those who is bold and brave enough and really cares about bangsa Malaysia, should leave this redundant party behind and join forces with Barisan Rakyat.

tbsbidayuh
GERAKAN and SUPP have no different in the eyes of Barisan Nasional. Though the multi-racial concept is sworn in the party’s the but the party has lost it mission for the country.SUPP did the same to the Dayak too. As the BN allied member SUPP used every opportunity to be on the top of the State BN party and sidelined some crucial issue especially multi-racial needs. Why GERAKAN has it credibility and might to be a good party. DAP is a good example how multi-racial is really practiced. GERAKAN has to quit and restructure itself for the next General Election.… Read more »
AL Phoon
AL Phoon

Gerakan must live by its main priciple of Malaysian Malaysia; if not they should move aside and let other Parties to do the job. Asked yourselves what happened in the last 40 years when you could have done something. You could have an opposition Government in Penang like PAS in Kelantan. Penagites would have gladly supported you at ALL COST.

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