‘Umno can steer Penang BN, with Gerakan’s blessings’

Political Sociologist Dr Sivamurugan Pandian

GEORGE TOWN: Umno is capable of leading Penang BN, but only with Gerakan’s blessings, a political analyst said.

This followed speculation that a federal Umno minister was coveting the top post.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Political Sociologist Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the move may realign Gerakan’s focus on bringing back the Chinese votes in Penang, while Umno focuses on the election machinery as a whole.

He said Umno had a proven track record compared with other BN component parties which have yet to yield solid results.

“Umno can lead if Gerakan feels it is time to bring new changes.

“It might allow them (Gerakan) to focus on bringing back Chinese votes if this new methodology works well,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Today, a senior Gerakan member told FMT there would be a major shake-up in Penang BN, with the chairmanship seconded to Umno.

Traditionally, the state Gerakan chairman has held the chairmanship.

The Gerakan member said this move to let Umno take over as chairman was due to the dismal performance of the party in Penang, with feuding camps within Penang Gerakan.

Sivamurugan said Gerakan’s internal issues were to be expected.

He felt these problems could be perpetuated by individuals clamouring for power and recognition.
Sivamurugan felt there would not be a “contest” between Umno and Gerakan, unless there were parties against Umno assuming chairmanship.

“Only if someone in the party feels this is completely unacceptable or that person or faction feels the Gerakan chief must be appointed as chief minister if they wrest the state from DAP… only then would there be a quarrel between both parties.

“If Umno takes over, it should be done in a good manner, without any internal conflicts to avoid cracks within BN.”