Gerakan: On painful lessons learnt and the way forward

PETALING JAYA: Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dominic Lau Hoe Chai said the party, which thought it had hit rock bottom in the 13th general election, did not know the real rock bottom was awaiting it at GE14 when it lost all seats contested.

He said it was also after the GE14 results were announced that the party's leaders realised that services to the people are not crucial to winning an election.

Citing the party president as an example, he said Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong failed to retain the Teluk Intan seat despite having served the electorate well.

Gerakan, which was reduced to one parliamentary and three state seats after GE13, added a parliamentary seat when it won Teluk Intan in a by-election in 2014.

In an interview with China Press published today, Lau said the party had identified potential candidates two to three years before GE14 to let them endear themselves to the electorate, hoping that the people would vote for candidates instead of parties.

"We believed the people had become more mature and would vote for candidates and not parties. As such we identified (potential) candidates early so that they could start serving the people to increase their chances of winning."

But, he said, elections to a large extent hinge on perceptions, and Pakatan Harapan succeeded in creating a negative perception about then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Barisan Nasional (BN), dealing a fatal blow to Gerakan in GE14.

He said the party knew it would lose, "but we've never thought the federal government would change hands."

"Many people say Gerakan is a good party, and they are merely fed up with Umno. In the end, Gerakan was white-washed whereas Umno won in 54 parliamentary constituencies. How do you expect us to accept the results?"

Lau said he also could not accept the fact that, after having served Batu for the last eight years, he would have lost to a 22-year-old independent candidate who probably does not even know the bread and butter issues affecting the people in the parliamentary constituency.

On the way forward for Gerakan, he said the party will play the role of a rational and more professional opposition after leaving BN.

 

Source: https://goo.gl/H8VaxF

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