Lim upset with members over poor turnout at Gerakan conference

(The Star) – Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si Pin has lashed out at his central committee members for failing to turn up in full force for its national delegates conference.

Only 406 youth delegates, or 38.5%, were present and this was the worst turnout in the 22 years since the wing was formed.

“This is an alarming and difficult question for us. Why is our turnout so bad this year?”

He said many youth delegates gave the excuse that they could not wake up in time for the meeting because this year’s conference had been changed to Saturday mornings instead of Friday evenings previously.

“Certain Youth CC delegates came to shake my hand. Some tried to be funny and said ‘I’m here today’ but in my heart, I asked where were you yesterday?

“You’re an elected CC and yet you were not present,” he said, adding that the wing would provide a report on the matter to the party president as it was a serious issue.

The conference yesterday saw 1,425 out of the total number of 2,193 delegates attending, which was fewer than the 1,583 delegates last year.

Gerakan delegates yesterday unanimously approved various amendments to the party constitution to further enable the party grassroots to be empowered.

National delegates can now contest for the posts of the deputy National Treasurer, three deputy secretaries general which are previously only opened to central committee members. If selected, the delegates can only attend central committee meetings as an invited observer.

Meanwhile, a representative from Belia-wanis Chia Ting Ting, when debating on the presidential address at the Gerakan’s National Delegates’ Conference, said the group wanted to be known for its professionalism and skills and not just mere “beauty” to attract people to join the party.

“There is no point in Gerakan Youth wanting to attract men to join the wing using our beauty.

“We want to be known for our principles and professionalism,” said Chia. Beliawanis is a bureau within Wanita Gerakan for women below age 35.

Lim had suggested that allowing young women from Beliawanis to participate in the wing’s activities would motivate more youths to join in. Wanita Chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe disagreed with the proposal.

Wanita representative Rowena Yam said most women had careers and were bosses in their own right.

“We are first among equals. We don’t want to be equated to the flowers just to attract the bees,” she said.

In his winding up debate on the presidential address, Lim said the proposal should be “put to a test” by having an independent poll among Beliawanis members.