Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quo Vadis, Gerakan Party?

Looks like the Gerakan has started its walk down the froggie path, again, after a lapse of 35 years.

Born in 1968 and then touted to be the greatest multiracial political party for Malaysians, it brought about, as part of the loose pact comprising itself, DAP, PPP, and even PAS, the 1st tsunamic wave in the 1969 general election against the Perikatan, the BN’s predecessor.

It won rule of the great State of Penang, where the cry at that time in Penang was ‘Hor P’ang Choon Tiam*’ (sink the sailing boat), where the party logo of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Perikatan was a sailing boat.

* for decorum I omitted the prefixable Karn Neen Nair (best translated in the presence of sweeties as ‘blast it’ ;-)

Together with DAP and PPP, it also threatened the dominance of the Perikatan in Perak and the likely (legal, through the ballot box) seizure of power in the then premier prize of all, Selangor. The threat to the latter was to lead to the May 13 incident.

The accusation regarding May 13 was that (and it's a historical fact) the Gerakan Party celebrators diverted from their planned route to make provocative forays into Malay areas to jeer at the residents (majority of whom were UMNO supporters).

The popular myth amongst the Malays (especially after Gerakan joined the Barisan Nasional), and continuously perpetuated, was that the provocateurs were DAP members – yes, 'twas jolly good not to have a fellow BN party (Gerakan) as the hated biadap Chinese party.

The reality was that certain leaders in UMNO (not Tunku but reputed to be Tun Razak) had initiated the riots to wrestled back full control of the nation, placing it under emergency rule (dictatorship for more than 3 years). Indeed, Tun Razak used the process as a quiet coup d’etat against the Tunku in the immediate aftermath of the May 13 racial riots.

In 1972 Tun Razak formed the Barisan Nasional (BN) to ‘absorb’ (or bring under UMNO’s stewartship and control) the once mighty and highly admired multiracial Gerakan Party, and PAS and PPP.

Only the DAP refused to compromise on its Malaysian Malaysia principles of absolute equality and meritocracy. It wisely remained as the main opposition party - there was no overnight 'Road to Damascus' bull of reformasi.

But essentially, the powerful and great Gerakan Party was effectively ‘neutralized’ or if you want to be cruel, ‘neutered’. As another example of Tun Razak's brilliant castration plan, look at the PPP, once King of Ipoh and that part of Perak, but now a pathetic party which fits Tun Dr Ismail's immortal words of 'mati ta'mahu, hidup pun segan'.

Then the foundation of the Gerakan party was shattered when many founding stalwarts of Gerakan Party left in disgust at the party's entry into the BN – people like its president Professor Syed Hussein al-Alatas, Wang Gungwu (Emeritus Prof of the Australian National University), Dr Tan Chee Khoon, etc.

Wikipedia tells us that Syed Hussein left to help Dr Tan Chee Khoon form Pekemas (Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia, or Social Justice Party of Malaysia), based on similar principles that Gerakan had been formed on.

But alas, such a party like the 1969 Gerakan party could only come once in a blue moon, because erstwhile supporters of Gerakan diaspora-ed across to the more disciplined and resolute DAP, leading to the collapse of Pekemas. Poor wonderful Dr Tan Chee Khoon was its only MP.

Oh, just in case you anwaristas are thinking of laying claim to inheriting the legendary legacy of the 1969 Gerakan Party, forget about it as my Uncle told me there was then a total absence of racist consciousness unlike PKR, where even the formation of the Selangor exco had so much trouble, let alone having PKR members like the Kulim Wonder or Penang’s deputy CM who wants PKR to be involved in the UMNO-PAS pan-Malay unity talks.

Then two other calamities befell the Gerakan – (i) it degenerated into a Chinese-based party with just a symbolic sprinkling of Indians to continue claim to its multiethnic heritage, and (ii) to Penangites like my family, it was terrible that Gerakan’s power base shifted over to Perak when once-MCA-member Dr Lim KY joined the party to become its president –alamak, how low could it have gone.

In the aftermath of the recent March tsunami, Dr Toh Kin Woon left. Though he didn’t physically froggy over to PKR, he achieved the same effect when he endorsed Anwar Ibrahim.

Then the final blow came yesterday (a sweetie told me about it then) as reported by Malaysiakini in its Out of Gerakan, into PKR.

Yesterday Dr Tan Kee Kwong stated his intention to join PKR and was photo-ed during the announcement with gleeful PKR leaders like Dr Wan Azizah and Khalid Ibrahim.

As Malaysiakini mentioned, Tan’s announcement did not come as a total surprise because he was not only dropped by his party as a deputy minister after the 2004 general election but sidelined from meaningful involvement in party matters just because he had backed Kerk Choo Ting against Lim KY.

I would have respected him more if he had then left before the March general election because he did have a good reason, but to leave after his party had been gutted in the 2008 general election would be seen as opportunistic.

Anyway, the consequence of Tan leaving the Gerakan has a huge symbolic significance for the older generation members as this man is the son of one of its great legendary founders, Tan Sri Dr Tan Chee Khoon (notwithstanding the fact that Dr Tan Senior left Gerakan to form Pekemas).

Dr Tan’s departure is far more significant than Dr Toh, not only for the just mentioned reason but for the fact he is joining PKR.

I am not sure what Koh Tsu Koon would do now. But it’s a lesson, that when the going gets tough, while the tough gets going, the towgeh gets goreng.

If the entire Gerakan Party were to leave BN and join PKR, the two BN component parties that will be most delighted would be the MCA and PPP.

The former had suffered continuous backstabbing by the Gerakan (just as it had backstabbed Gerakan in return), and knows that UMNO has used Gerakan as a very effective 'divide & conquer' tool to sabo (undermine) any ambitious aspiration of the Chinese based party that wasn't to UMNO's liking.

So the possibility of Gerakan Party's leaving BN will spell for the UMNO more than just the loss of a member party - it will see a far more assertive MCA.


  1. The Gerakan Party was not ‘neutralized’ or ‘neutered’ but 'castrated' the same way as eunuchs were subjected to when serving in the sultans' harems. The next time you meet a gerakan member, ask him to drop his pants and you will know that I am correct

  2. good one KT... that's more like it. we want more of these. let's blog more on something else other than anwar, something also relevant, something important, something dear to our hearts. anwar is NO GOD!... oh, please......

  3. There goes another bull shitting session.Sucks!

  4. Gerakan dummies wake up! You must leave now! Jump boat it is sinking now!

  5. Anwarwood Productions - The Biggest Blockbuster Show on Earth!
    (Anwarwood Produksi - Tayangan Paling Besar dan Hebat di Dunia!)

  6. Anwar is no God, yes, but he represents the change we need.

  7. Thanks ktemoc. wish there were more like you who reciprocate. after all, what's there to lose? a comment or two on the postings would be the icing. a

  8. the late dr tan chee khoon left because of his principles but his son joins and left because of positions. would he leave if he was no side lined by keng yaik????????????

  9. I disagree with calls for Gerakan to leave now, it is wrong, irresponsible, irrational, perhaps selfish move. I appeal to Gerakan leaders to take another look and weight the consequences and let wisdoms rule over hatred.

    The interest of the nation's economy and people's welfare must be the first priority, why depress the current uncertainty and unstable situation further. Yes you have your causes, but why be a lousy loser to abandon ship when the stake are down, that is not a honorable act, that a betrayer to your partners who need you in time of need. UMNO bad blood doesn't appeared out of the blue after the March election, more serious issues occurs before and why not make the call then? I think now Gerakan have more reasons to stay put, the opportunity to change in within is here, this is the time when UMNO needs your full support. UNMO must stay alive for equivalence, if UNMO were to disintegrate, the risk is higher that this country turning into a Taliban style government rather than a multi racial government as most of us desire.

    People also must be rational with what Ahmad ismail have said and not be hypocrite as most of us we are racist at one time or other. The difference is that we do not say it out in public as we do not want to hurt other ethnic feeling and this fellow is bold to say it out loud. But on the other hand, what is the meaning of "Freedom of Speech" when some body cannot speak their mind out?

    Isn't it better that people speak their heart out so that we can see what are the problems. Most Malays ( not only in UMNO ) considered that the non-malay are immigrant, it is not new, because the foundation of Malaysia hasn't been laid correctly. To me how shall we tackle the misconception and change the mind set to accommodate todays environment are more important and not force or fake apologies. Perhaps a campaign from both side of the fence to educate the public how the non-malay struggled during pre and post independent, fight for the country during both world war, sacrifices and contributed greatly to built this nation and Malaysia is the home for all Malaysian would be more fruitful.

    Thats the change I looking for and not from bad to worst with the act of toppling the government by undemocratic means while many of the differences still remains..

    Lets built and not destroy, lets engage and not confrontation, lets be partners to complete, let live together and not kill each other.......

  10. ^ A simple translation of XieAn's comment above:

    "Kneel down and take it like a good slave. Obey our masters... the U Must Not Object party"

  11. Hi Brighteyes,

    Get your eyes check, you may have reading problems.

  12. xiean,
    It's people like you who are a disgrace to your name.Why behave like a 20th.century slave to those umno puk...Wholeheartedly agree with Brightness on your cowardly explanation.How long can the chinese be treated like babis.How long will you take being babis in those umno eyes!
    Wake up ! stop being a jerk and do something or else dont pour cold water to those Gerakan prisoners of concious.Do you really believe with the disintergrate of umno this country will turn taliban style! Your reasoning , is it reliable or make up to put fear like those Mca scoundrels?
    With the death of umno old goons like you and KT will still be slaves of a different kind.

  13. Anonymous 11:19 PM,

    1) I agree with xiean that any change of government should not be the act of toppling the government by undemocratic means while many of the differences still remains..
    There are still many unknown variables not yet seen . There are many problems within UMNO , within BN , within MCA , Gerakan , MIC , PAS , PKR , DAP. We are living in perilious times and I don't advocate changes by katakfication . I have mentioned this so many times and so have so many other commentators like killer and others .

  14. I am also distress at the pure hypocrisy of the PR parties for their deafening silence on the Ahmad Ismail issue and those Anwaristas , PAS supporters and PAS supporters remaining very quite while their cyber troopers choose to continuously whacked the MCA and Gerakan . The racists referment of Chinese as pendatang refers to ALL Chinese in Malaysia and all political parties should come out to condemn this bastard . To date only the MCA , Gerakan and DAP has lodge police reports . What happen to PKR and their supreme leader ? His comment on Ahmad Ismail as a lowly politician falls short of what we expected of him to take on that racist . Or is it he is in cahoots with him ? Till today he has not defended the Chinese supporters in his party and also his Chinese YB's in his party for allowing an old friend of his to call all Chinese as pendatangs . And to fan the critisism being level at the BN . If they PR claim they are representing all Malaysians irrespective of races , semua anak Malaysia , I don't see it here . More like an empty hot gas promise or slogan more like to put their snake oil salesman as the prime minister . I am still waiting for the outcome of yet another racist's Zulklifi Nordin show cause ! Or is it another show ? by PKR to pacify the Chinese when he asked the Chinese to balek China ? Where is Anwar on this ? Why isn't he personally involved in the in the show cause case of HIS PKR chap ? Instead he is promoting himself as the PM in waiting in Indonesia . If this is NOT HYPOCRISY BY PKR then what is it ?
    Is PAS also secretly endorsing what Ahmad Ismail call on Chinese as pendatangs ? Where are their public rebuke on that issue ? Silence means consent .
    Is this the type of PR gomen we want to support and put up as the next Federal gomen ? Better think twice before we start asking all other parties to leave BN .!! As such xiean is right in not asking Gerakan to leave BN . I support that line of thought . UMNO today is facing an internal warfare , an inplosion , changes are being made , let's wait and see before we make our next move .

  15. The Pied Piper of Permatang Pauh.

    They call him.....
    Snake Oil Salesman
    Forked-tongued Snake


    Every negative label in the dictionary...

    Can't do any better than ad hominem attacks, ah...

    When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn...

  16. anon 11:19PM,

    The disintegration of UMNO will benefit PAS and not PR or DAP, that my reasoning. Thats why UMNO have to stay alive to maintain the equivalence. That is the compromise I am willing to take, this do not mean that I agree with some of their policies.

    I know, what I have wrote here will not be the liking to many people like you. but we have to be realistic, that is missing in many of you. Me think like you before, but I have already wake up after seeing all the events after the March 08 election. To me the best option now is status quo.

    Chaptokam: thanks for the support

  17. Hi Ktemoc

    I am eagerly awaiting your commentary on our BN MPs suddenly going green and embarking on their agricultural study tour
    overseas :-)

    Wonder how much it is costing the Malaysian tax payers. I hope they took Air Asia :-)

    Or perhaps they need rest and recreation after all the energy and hard work they put into the bruising "Mother of All Bye-Elections" recently concluded in Permatang Pauh?

    Phua Kai Lit

  18. Hi chaptokan,
    You got to be kidding are you'nt?Waiting for implosions in umno and hoping for them to change?Well you guys can wait for the cows to come home bringing you milk, and by the way how long must the people wait.There is nothing wrong about katafications .Lets say you re our MP for belanchan district and tell us the main reasons you want to switch to a better camp because you dont agree to those bullying policies of umno.We will agree you cant do much because you can only squeal small time, but we support your conscience of doing things right.You dont have to be a slave .
    See people will agree that enough is enough!Forget about honour and righteousness.
    The country has reached a stage of people wanting CHANGE for the better. Is that wrong?

  19. PKR Zulkifi , Hypocrite or Plain Rcaist !!

    “When the time comes and I have to choose between Islam and the party, I will still choose Islam although it would be a lost to me, in view of Pakatan Rakyat taking over the government on 16 September”.

    Zulkifli was one of those overzealous protestors who tried to stop a forum on conversion to Islam organised by the Bar Council on 9 August.

    He explained that he acted in that manner because he felt the forum organisers had insulted Islam, and he would defend his religion although it was against the views of several sectors.

    Is PKR willing to lose Zulkifli?

    Would they ask him to apologise?

    Or would he be left off with a slight smack on his wrist?

    Or would it really depend on how many MPs Anwar Ibrahim has already ensnared into his September 16 plan?

    Timw will soon expose the Hypocrisy of Anwar in protecting the rights of "pendatangs"

  20. Semua nak main ugut2 macam ni je sekarang. Bawa berbincang dulu, bukan cara nak lari macam tu je. Takkan sebab dapat tawaran kosong yang hebat je nak lari dah. Ni lah pengaruh Anwar yang sentiasa merosakkan pemikiran orang.

  21. pasal Zulkifli tu apa agaknya tindakan PKR? Apa agaknya PKR nak buat dengan perkara ni. Kalau tak buat apa2, sokong perkara ni, apa pulak jadi dengan mereka yang sangat taksub kononnya membela nasib kaum bukan melayu tu? Kalau buat apa2 nanti seolah2 membelakangkan Islam pulak? Susah ni kalau dah tabur janji merata ikut sedap mulut je ni..