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Can Gerakan rise from the ashes?

 | November 8, 2012

Gerakan is placing all its hopes on the prime minister’s projects for its survival.

TAIPING: It seems that now Gerakan’s only hope of a revival is by hitching its bandwagon to Najib Tun Razak’s various 1Malaysia projects.

The Gerakan leaders, at least those in Perak, are singing praises of Najib’s projects and how it is going to help the party to rise from the ashes.

In the 2008 general election, the party was almost annihilated. Gerakan won only two of the 12 parliamentary seats that it contested in 2008 and four state seats out of the 31 it contested.

Gerakan national deputy president Chang Ko Youn told FMT that the party will see a brighter future and win more seats under Najib’s various 1Malaysia projects and economic programmes.

He said “under the 1Malaysia theme, Najib has brought a lot of changes and reforms that are effective, which is better than [under the administration of former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi]”.

Chang, who is also Perak state chief, said: “We will be contesting in the three parliamentary seats of Taiping, Beruas and Teluk Intan and four state seats of Aulong, Kuala Sepetang [both in Taiping area], Jalong [in Sungai Siput] and Canning [in Ipoh] in the coming general election.”

“We have submitted our list of candidates to Najib and we are waiting for his approval,” added Chang.

Younger candidates

Gerakan has bowed to the party’s Youth wing’s pressure of fielding younger candidates and has agreed to have 50% new faces.

In Perak, according to party insiders, the three parliamentary seats and one state seat may be contested by party veterans while the remaining three state seats may see new faces.

It will be the second attempt for Chang to contest in Beruas against incumbent DAP state chief Ngeh Khoo Ham while state vice chief Mah Siew Keong will once again challenge either incumbent DAP’s M Manoharan or probably a new DAP candidate in Teluk Intan.

Meanwhile, party Wanita chief Tan Lian Hoe, who is also deputy domestic trade and consumer minister, will stand for the first time in Taiping to challenge incumbent DAP strongman Nga Kor Ming.

The sole veteran earmarked for the state seat of Kuala Sepatang is party state secretary See Tean Seng, who is going for his third attempt in this traditional Gerakan seat against either incumbent PKR Tai Sing Ng or a new PKR candidate as being speculated.

The other three potential new Gerakan faces for Jalong, Canning and Aulong are state vice chief Liew Yew Aw, Ipoh Timor division Wanita chief Ceylyn Tay and Taiping division secretary Soo Kay Ping respectively.

Ceylyn, 36, said that BN might face an uphill battle to retain Perak which it took over by defections from the duly elected Pakatan state government after nine months in 2009.

“Retaining Perak under BN control will be more difficult than taking control of Selangor,” she said.

Her argument is that Pakatan had ruled Selangor for the past four years so BN can make comparisons with its own past rule of the state whereas in Perak, Pakatan had a short reign and BN cannot make such similar comparisons.

Meanwhile, Soo, 47, a computer engineer and party member for 12 years, also echoed Chang’s sentiment that Najib was doing a good job in addressing all the problems faced by Malaysians, especially the non-Malays which will be plus point for Gerakan in the coming polls.

As to the Chinese community’s anger against BN for forcefully taking over Perak from Pakatan, his reasoning was that voters now want only candidates who can perform well and address the voters’ grievances instead of just allegedly giving lip service like DAP.


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