Gerakan leaves BN, will remain in opposition

Gerakan pulls out of Barisan Nasional after 45 years as a founding member of the coalition.

PETALING JAYA: The Gerakan party, a founding member of the Barisan Nasional, is to leave the coalition after 45 years, the party’s Central Committee said in a statement today.

Sarawak and Sabah component parties have already left the former ruling coalition, which lost control of the federal government at last month’s general election, and has now shrunk to the independence-era Alliance of Umno, MCA and MIC.

The Gerakan statement, from the party’s Central Committee, said the party would remain as an independent party in opposition to Pakatan Harapan, and would “cooperate with like-minded parties, individuals and groups”.

It said the decision was unanimous and “was made after serious and comprehensive deliberation, reflection and consideration of the current political developments of the country post-GE14”.

The party rose to prominence as a multiracial party of left-leaning activists and politicians in 1969 in an opposition wave against the Alliance. It won power in the Penang state government and made a strong showing in Perak and Selangor.

However, its influence was eroded over the years and the party no longer has any elected representatives in Parliament. It lost control of the Penang state government in 2008 after four decades in power.

At last month’s general election, Gerakan’s president Mah Siew Keong was defeated in his bid for re-election as MP for Teluk Intan. He was among other BN component party leaders who were defeated.

The Gerakan committee said the party would now “embark on a new political journey”. The statement said: “We decided that Gerakan must chart a new direction to sustain ourselves and continue our struggle.”

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