Keen contest for the Gerakan presidency?

Will there be a fight for the presidents post of Gerakan?

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 Gerakan acting president Datuk Chang Ko Youn says he is not contesting the partys top post on Oct 26, but he may be mistaken if he believes there may be the smooth transition of power without a contest that he so desires.

There is already talk that vice-president and acting secretary-general Datuk Mah Siew Keong and newly-elected Gerakan Penang chief and former secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow are gunning for the top post.

I want to avoid a fight for the number one position. Hopefully, by giving way, I would pave the way for a peaceful transition of power. In the current political scenario, I personally feel we cannot afford another power struggle in the party, Chang told Bernama in an interview.

The 56-year-old Chang also said that he wants to make way for a younger leader to helm the party. Mah, 52, and Teng, 50, are younger than Chang, but who was Chang referring to as a younger leader?

Chang explained that over the years, Gerakan had groomed many capable leaders and the time has come for them to take over the party and bring about a new approach, a new strategy and a new image.

Whether I like it or not, my time belonged to the so-called old guards, especially since I had been working with the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik for so many years. Although I still consider myself young, I cant avoid the perception that I belonged to Keng Yaiks era.

Therefore, after taking (everything) into consideration, I decided to take one step backward. Moreover, with the current political scenario, you need all these young people to come up with their ideas and proposals and they are brave enough to try new approaches while people like me continue to work with them, he said.

Chang had served as a Perak state executive councillor for three electoral terms (from 1995 to 2004) and as Gerakan Youth chief (1996 to 1999) before being elected as Gerakans deputy president in 2008.

He became acting president on May 16 this year when Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon stepped down as president after assuming full responsibility for the partys devastating defeat in the 12th general election.

Gerakan had won only one of the 11 parliamentary and three of the 32 state seats it contested.

Chang also said that by staying away from the top post, I can still work and contribute in any other capacity. No need (to have the) top post to carry on.

He said he would still be able to contribute to the party in other ways, such as membership training, research and helping the party articulate its views.

Meanwhile, whether Mah and Teng will go for the top post will be known on Saturday when nomination papers will have to be filed for contesting the elections.

Party insiders say Teng has privately told some leaders and grassroots members that he intends to go for the top post while some leaders say they prefer Mah, who was elected with the highest number of votes as party vice-president in 2008.

Mah is a former MP of Teluk Intan (1999-2008), a former deputy minister and once Gerakans Youth chief (2002-2008). He assumed responsibility as party acting secretary-general on May 11 following Tengs resignation as the party secretary-general and Barisan Nasional (BN) Penang chairman.

Teng is an elected Central Committee (CC) member and was elected as Gerakan Penang chairman on Sept 15. BERNAMA





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