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Mah beats Teng in fight for Gerakan president post

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Mah Siew Keong is the new Gerakan president.

The former Teluk Intan MP beat Penang chairman Datuk Teng Chang Yeo by more than 500 votes to win the post at the party elections here.

However, in a magnanimous gesture and in line with his pledge to pull the party together after its dismal show in two general elections, Mah, previously a vice-president, said he would appoint Teng as a central committee (CC) member.

Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who acted as party president after Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon stepped down following the partys May 5 election fiasco, did not seek re-election.

The responsibility of a president is not easy and I understand there are a lot of challenges, Mah told reporters after his victory was announced by Terengganu Gerakan chairman Yap Kea Ping at the end of the Gerakan 42nd national delegates conference at Menara PGRM here yesterday.

However, I believe all members will come together in bringing the party to a better position.

Even Teng, who contested against me, will be given a position as a CC member, he said, adding that one of his primary focus is to address issues of the people and make the party more relevant.

We will look into bringing in more young members into the party, said Mah.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who opened the delegates conference in the morning, had given an encouraging speech that will push and drive the party back to our glory days.

Kedah Gerakan chairman Dr Cheah Soon Hai edged out Kepong division chief Ma Woie Chyi to be the new deputy president.

The three elected vice-presidents are Teo Eng Tee, A. Kohilan Pillay and Asharuddin Ahmad.

Dr Cheah said the participation of more young people in the party will help the party move forward.

We are also looking to provide training for younger members in the party so that they will be able to convey our intentions and messages to the public, he said.

Meanwhile, Chang said the Gerakan would suggest to the Prime Minister that its lone MP, Liang Teck Meng, be given a government post.

The outgoing acting president added the Gerakan had never adopted a resolution to decline government posts as had been done by MCA.

Liang defended the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat in Johor by defeating PAS candidate Suhaizan Kaiat in the May 5 general election.

Former Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon had reportedly said a day after the polls that the party would decline all government posts except state and local government positions.

Chang said Kohs statement was misunderstood.

What Koh said was that we only won one (parliamentary seat). How are we going to ask for a Cabinet post? Chang told a press conference on the sidelines of the event.