Aug 17, 2008 By HAH FOONG LIAN
Perak Gerakan wants the party to pull out of Barisan Nasional in view of coalition leaders adopting a political culture that garners support from only particular communities. About 80% of the delegates expressed that view during the Perak delegates’ conference yesterday. “We still see politicians playing race and religious issues and this is not good for the country,” said Perak Gerakan chief Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who was re-elected to the party's top post in the state after thrashing his opponent Liew Yiew Aw with a 175-vote majority. “Such ways cannot be accepted by members of Gerakan, which practises a non-racial and non-religious approach,” he said. However, he said there was a need to discuss the matter of whether the party would pull out or remain in Barisan at the coming national delegates conference in October. In Butterworth, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon quashed talks of the party pulling out of Barisan. Chang said that since the March 8 polls, there has emerged a new trend and many members felt the need to debate the issue of pulling out of Barisan or remaining within the coalition. “As this is the first state to hold its conference, we will have to find out the mood among delegates of other states,” said Chang, who is also Gerakan vice-president. Perak Gerakan Wanita chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, who is also national Wanita chief, said initial feedback from the delegates indicated that they were dissatisfied with Barisan leaders who used racial issues to garner support from members. Dr Koh said he would discuss the matter with party leaders, noting that there seemed to be differences in opinion among its members. “To leave Barisan or not does not arise now, as we are busy campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election,” he said.