‘Stay or leave BN, future bleak for Gerakan’

Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong is among party candidates who lost in the May 9 polls. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A political analyst says Gerakan’s decision today to quit Barisan Nasional (BN) will have no impact on the coalition, adding that the move was not surprising.

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the decision was also irrelevant as Gerakan had not won any state or parliamentary seat in last month’s polls which left Barisan Nasional (BN) in a state of disarray following its shock defeat.

“They contested 31 state seats and 10 parliamentary seats, but lost really badly in the elections,” he told FMT.

Gerakan, one of BN’s founding members, today announced it would remain as an independent opposition party, but would “cooperate with like-minded parties, individuals and groups”.

The party, which once ruled Penang, said the decision “was made after serious and comprehensive deliberation, reflection and consideration of the current political developments of the country post-GE14”.

Awang Azman said Gerakan’s best achievement was when it ruled Penang for four decades, prior to BN’s defeat in the state in 2008.

He said the year 2008 saw the beginning of Gerakan’s decline when the party won only two seats in the general election then.

Now, Gerakan will find it hard to survive on their own, said Awang Azman.

“Gerakan’s future, at the moment, looks bleak. They are now lone rangers.

“They will continue to compete with other multiracial parties such as DAP and PKR, but even then it will be tough for them as they are now on their own,” he said.

Awang Azman said even if MCA were to leave BN, it would not make much of a difference.

“BN really, really needs time to recover,” he added.

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

However, its influence eroded over the years, especially after the 2008 elections.

Gerakan leaves BN, will remain in opposition