A blog reader, Kenny, alerted me to the news in malaysiakini that Wanita chief of Gerakan, Tan Lian Hoe, who is currently one of the two Gerakan MPs elected in the last GeneralElection, spoke out against race-based politics of UMno and she even suggested that Gerakan leaves BN. The Head of Perak Gerakan, Chang Ko Youn, has also openly asked members to raise the “pull out issue” in the party National Delegates Conference due in early October.
I salute these leaders, as well as Dr Toh Kin Woon, who has openly endorsed Anwar for the Permatang Pauh seat. Dr Toh is known for his independent mind. In fact, there is a sizeable number of grassroots that is clamouring the party to pull out from BN, as these grassroots view UMNO as beyond hope.
It is interesting to see how the top leadership respond to these calls. Gerakan is not known for the fierce infighting that is the hall mark of MCA. In fact, another epic battle is shaping for MCA, with a new Team B taking on a new Team B. But Gerakan is not known for that . Fight in Gerakan is subtle. Issues are often settled with discussion and negotiation. But this time, a strong undercurret is building up, no thanks in a way perhaps to this blogger who was one of the very first to ask party leadership to pull out from BN as early as in 2006 party dialogue. I have since written numerous articles and spoke on many occassions to the dismay of many leaders to argue why Gerakan should not be in BN anymore.
Gerakna joined BN a few years after it won Penang in 1969 . In the aftermath of May 13, the pragmatic leadership thought that perhaps it was time for reconciliation of the various ethnic group. The leadership also viewed that by joinig BN, Federal funds could be solicited for the development of Penang, which at that time was facing a bleak future after losing its entreport status. Tun Dr Lim chong Eu was able to transform Penang from a trading port into a successful industrial state and thus help to elevate the standard of living of the People. It did so by shelfing its ideology of a fair and equal society, to take part in a BN that was based on racial politics.
However, after more than 30 yrs in BN, what has Gerakan done to influence UMNO? UMNO in fact has been perceived to change from a truly nationalist paty into a decadend organisation that cares only for certain interest. As a result, good governance has gone done the drain. Institutions were compromised. Gerakan is unable to even stop this rots, what more to say about influencing direction of the whole coalition? It has failed and failed miserably. Even the people of Penang rejected it during the last GE. For a party which has ruled Penang for 30odd years, it was unable to win even a single seat in Penang.
It is really time for its leaders, if they still subscribe to the party ideology as they have promised after March 8, to review its role within this race based coalition. Otherwise, the party can never hope to be relevant again..