Gerakan stays with BN, affirms Mah

Gerakan’s newly-elected president Mah Siew Keong said the party will not leave BN despite urgings from several delegates to do so.

Mah said there are in fact many different suggestions from the delegates, including to stay on with BN, and it is not an easy decision to be made.

“It is not a decision to be made easily. As far as I am concerned, we believe in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. He is still the best choice as Malaysia’s prime minister,” said Mah during a press conference after the Gerakan national delegates conference (NDC).

Yesterday, several delegates had questioned the party’s ties with coalition partner Umno and some urged Gerakan to quit BN.

“We have 2,400 delegates, there are some who do not agree with the decision. It does not mean their opinion represents the whole party.

“Whatever their opinion, we will study it and bring it up in the upcoming central committee meeting,” stated Mah.

However, Mah had previously urged Gerakan to consider leaving BN in 2008 after Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail issued a warning to Chinese Malaysians, and then proceeded to tear a portrait of then-Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon.

Mah was the Gerakan Youth secretary-general at the time, and he was asked today to explain what had changed his mind about BN.

“That happened in 2008. As a party, we cannot be committed to one decision. We must keep reviewing suggestions. The survivors are those who keep on changing.

“We feel that we have a role to play in BN and we wish to play a bigger role. It does not mean we totally agree with everything in BN. It is like a family. There are certain things we agree and disagree with in a family.

“We feel BN is the better choice. We feel that Najib is a better choice than Anwar Ibrahim,” Mah said.  

However, Mah said Umno was “one of the problems” that contributed to Gerakan’s worst ever defeat in the 13th general election.

Furthermore, Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon and several others felt that BN did not give Gerakan the respect it deserves as a coalition partner.

“Are Gerakan resolutions being studied and taken into consideration by the Umno-led government to be implemented as national policy? I think no,” said Tan during the NDC’s proceedings yesterday.  

‘We live together as one nation’

When proceedings resumed today, Gerakan national unity bureau chief Dr Asharuddin Ahmad joined in to voice dissatisfaction towards Umno.

“Every year before the Umno polls, surely there are individuals who tries to be popular by trying to scare the people and us with racial issues.

“We don’t need a hero or champion that tries to protect one race, that era is long gone. We live together as one nation.

“It is all right to protect our own rights, but we must not do it in the expense of insulting other races,” said Ahmad.  

Mah had also expressed disappointment to towards leaders in other BN component parties over their reaction towards the 13th general election results.  

“I felt disappointed when a menteri besar stated he must teach a lesson to a certain group of people that claimed to be the caused of BN’s lost. 

“Furthermore, a leader in Malacca had lost in the 13th general election and he puts the blame on other races. But he also lost in the recent Umno election, who does he wants to blame?” questioned Mah.

Though the two leaders were not named, Mah was likely to be referring to Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir and former Malacca chief minister Ali Rustam, respectively.  

Mukhriz had previously came under fire for supposedly punishing the Chinese voters for not supporting Umno by refusing to help Chinese schools.

“I want to be fair but I am also human. In the end, I am forced to help those who have helped me before,” he told a Sept 24 press conference.

Ali had previously blamed his electoral defeat on the ‘Chinese tsumani’ and later lost in his bid for an Umno vice-presidency, where even Malacca Umno division did not back him. He garnered only seven of the 573 votes.





Follow @partigerakan