TELUK INTAN: The statements by some opposition leaders on social media that they want to bury Gerakan in the 14th general election (GE14) are premature, says its president, Mah Siew Keong.
He said the opposition had been unable to eliminate the party, which was now strong and remained relevant, since it was founded in 1968.
Mah, who is also the plantation industries and commodities minister, said Gerakan had many leaders of calibre to champion the fate of the people, which was the main ideology of the Barisan Nasional (BN) component party.
“I want to emphasise, whether I win or lose (contesting in GE14), the opposition cannot ‘kill’ the Gerakan party,” he said.
He was speaking after attending the Teluk Intan parliamentary-level Chinese New Year open house at the Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina San Min, which was attended by about 5,000 people here today.
In the meantime, Teluk Intan-born Mah said he wanted to continue to serve in his place of birth if given another chance by the BN leadership.
“I do not deny that we have many challenges in Teluk Intan but we need to focus on people’s welfare and problems here. This time, I’m confident of retaining the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat with a bigger majority,” he said.
In GE13, Mah lost to DAP’s Seah Leong Peng by a majority of 7,313 votes.
However, in the Teluk Intan by-election, which was held in May 2014 following Seah’s death, Mah defeated DAP candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud with a majority of 238 votes.
Meanwhile, Johor Gerakan is confident GE14 will not prove to be a political tsunami to the party and other BN component parties in the state.
Its chief, Tee Kok Chee, said his confidence was based on the encouraging signs from Chinese and Indian voters in the state.
He said voters from both communities were aware that they were deceived by the opposition who had not made any progress since winning their seats.
“During GE13, many from the Chinese and Indian communities supported the opposition. However, after they won the seats, what have they been doing? To seek help (from them) is also hard.
“Hence, we believe this time around, we can win more seats. The important thing is that we have to work together and stay united with other component parties to deal with opposition strategies.
“This cooperation is effective as we used it to help Mah Siew Keong (Gerakan president) during the Teluk Intan by-election in 2014,” he said.
Speaking after the Johor Gerakan Chinese New Year open house here today, he said the Johor Gerakan had identified several candidates for GE14.
“Among them is Liang Teck Meng, who will defend the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat, as well as three new faces who will contest in the Bukit Batu, Skudai and Pemanis state seats,” he said.
In GE13, Gerakan contested in 12 parliamentary and 33 state seats nationwide but only won one parliamentary seat in Simpang Renggam (Johor) and three state seats in Pemanis (Johor) as well as Elopura and Tanjong Papat, both in Sabah.
Gerakan later won the Teluk Intan seat in a by-election, raising the number of its parliamentary seats to two.