Gerakan mulls quiting Barisan, may join Pakatan
KUALA LUMPUR: Sept 29, 2008 By LISA GOH
Leaving the Barisan Nasional and joining Pakatan Rakyat is one of the three options being considered by Gerakan.
Party acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the two other options were to stay with the ruling coalition or leave and be independent.
“We are not ruling out any possibility (of leaving) at this moment. We have to assess but we are not closing the door.
“Neither are we saying we will definitely leave. It’s something we need to assess but we cannot do it based on sentiments alone,” he told reporters after launching the KL-Federal Territory (FT) state delegates conference here yesterday.
“If you go on sentiments alone, I would say more than 60% (want to leave) but we are taking a lot of factors into consideration. A decision cannot be based just on sentiments.”
He added that party leaders were examining how the political scenario in the country would continue to change and had been getting feedback from the grassroots.
“It’s a very trying time and there is need for a lot of rational, objective analysis. It cannot be a straightforward, simplistic decision,” he said.
In his opening speech, Dr Koh announced that he would be contesting for the party presidency in the October party elections.
“I am offering myself for the post, but I have also set a time-frame for myself, and it is unlikely that I will go beyond two terms.
“I would like to have younger and newer leaders to continue the process of political commitment,” he said.
Asked if he would name his deputy, he replied: “We will let the delegates decide.”
On some 20 FT Gerakan members defecting to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Dr Koh expressed surprise.
“It was only last week that (former Setiawangsa Gerakan chief) Li Tiam Chai was with me in a meeting and there were no signs that he was not happy.
“We were talking about how to strengthen the party.
“So, I am surprised but I will continue with the veterans,” he said.
On the Umno leadership transition, Dr Koh said he hoped it would be “smooth and peaceful.”
“Even though it is an internal party matter, we are also concerned because the Umno leader becomes the leader of Barisan and the Federal Government,” he said.