Mah wins Gerakan top post

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Teluk Intan member of parliament Mah Siew Keong was elected Gerakan president today, defeating Penang party chief Teng Chang Yeow with a 500-odd vote majority.

Mah polled 1,086 votes against Teng’s 577 votes, winning the party top post with a convincing 509 vote majority.

Mah takes over the party, when it is at its lowest, with all odds stacked against him to rejuvenate the devastated party.

Gerakan which once ruled Penang is now on its knees winning only one parliamentary and three state seats at the May general election.

Mah’s ‘team’ also nearly made a clean sweep of other party top post.

His running mate, Kedah state chief Cheah Soon Hai won the deputy president’s race also with a convincing majority.

Cheah obtained 1,113 votes, against Teng’s partner and challenger Ma Woei Chyi who only obtained 545 votes.

Former Selangor state chief A. Kohilan Pillay, Johor state chief Teo Kok Eng, and central committee member Asharuddin Ahmad won the three elected vice president positions.

Kohilan and Teo were affiliated to Mah, while Asharuddin became the first elected Malay vice-president in Gerakan’s history.

Prefer to serve for only two-term

Speaking to reporters after results of the party elections were announced, Mah said he still stood by his stance that the presidential term should be limited to two terms.

But he was quick to add that such a decision needed to be approved by the newly elected central committee.

“This is not something decided by me alone, we have to find the proper mechanism, we have to table it. But all these take procedures (because) it’s not about me alone,” he said.

Mah said his first task would be to unite the party, admitting that party elections had caused “small problems to the family”.

“We have a lot of programmes listed in the manifesto and we shall continue to plan and start work immediately. This is not an easy burden, we acknowledge that. Gerakan is facing a lot of challenges.

“But I think if we work together as a team, I’m sure we can bring the party together.”

Mah added that his opponent, Teng, had agreed to work with him through the central committee, and that they would focus on wresting Penang back from Pakatan.

Teng: Defeat a small matter

Asked on calls for Gerakan to quit Barisan Nasional (BN), Mah said he still believed that the party had a role to play in the ruling coalition.

“We will hear [everyone’s] opinions in the next few days, but I have not heard serious calls in that respect. I think we still have a role to play in BN, and we still have confidence in Prime Minister Najib Razak to lead the country.”

Teng, on the other hand, said he anticipated his defeat upon arriving at Menara PGRM this morning, where a big group of Mah’s supporters were holding banners and canvassing.

He however refused to comment the contributing factors to his heavy loss, only saying that “it is a small matter” for him.

“In a battle like this, it is either you win or you lose. If you are win, don’t be too happy. If you lose, don’t be too sad,” he said.

Asharuddin, meanwhile, said he hoped to strengthen Gerakan’s image as a multiracial party.

He said he joined Gerakan 15 years ago because he believed on the multiracial ideology of the party.

The delegates also picked 18 central committee members. They are as below;

1)      Ch’ng Boon Chye

2)      Lim Si Pin

3)      Ng Siew Lai

4)      See Tean Seng

5)      Dominic Lau

6)      Liang Teck Meng

7)      G. Parameswaran

8)      Ng Keong Chye

9)      Yap Kim Heng

10)  Lau Hoi Keong

11)  Vincent Hooi

12)  Chhong Vee Hing

13)  Baljit Singh

14)  Thor Teong Gee

15)  Peter Pang

16)  Lau Chin Hoon

17)  Jayanthi Devi Balaguru

18)  Ng Chiang Chin





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