Gerakan lost its way long ago (UPDATED with Chinese Translation)

Today, Gerakan is still lost. It clings to Barisan Nasional and refuses to extricate itself from the monster that is bringing this country down. Gerakan just can’t see that its future is not with Barisan Nasional. The country’s future is not with Barisan Nasional.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Teng dismisses call to break ranks

A Gerakan leader brushed aside a suggestion that the party break ranks with Barisan Nasional just because it had differences of opinions with “big brother” Umno on a number of issues.

Its vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said differences of opinions between the party and Umno were common in a coalition political system.

“Issues such as the third vote, ISA and Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin are not issues big enough to warrant a split in ranks,” he told Free Malaysia Today today.

Dismissing widespread perception of Gerakan being under Umno’s thumb, he claimed that all BN parties were equal in political representation in the coalition’s supreme council.

He said all component parties were allowed equal democratic space to voice their opinions on various issues.

Therefore, he said it was not unusual for Gerakan to have different opinions and views with other partners, especially Umno, on any contentious issue.

Such differences, he said, were healthier for the coalition as it would allow for an eventual adoption of a unanimous stance on a particular issue.

“The differences were on small issues… they don’t grant a divorce,” said Teng, the Penang Gerakan chairman.

However, he did not rule out the possibility that Gerakan may opt out of BN if there were “big issues involved”.

He did not elaborate the type of issues that Gerakan would consider “big”.

He was commenting on the growing public demand for Gerakan to break ranks with BN to either join Pakatan Rakyat or become an independent party.

Conduct poll on local elections

While Umno is against restoring the local government elections, Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng has supported the attempts by Pakatan state governments in Penang and Selangor to reintroduce the council polls.

Municipality elections were suspended since 1965 following the Indonesian confrontation. The suspension was then institutionalised via the Local Government Act 1976.

Tan views local elections as more beneficial than detrimental to nation building.

He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to assist the Pakatan governments to conduct the polls, including making amendments to related by-laws.

Teng recently called on Umno not to accept PKR outcast Zulkifli into its ranks, labelling the MP as “a person with extreme religious agenda that would undermine other BN partners”.

He said that Zulkifli’s entry to Umno would be detrimental to BN because the reasons were so obvious. “He could not accept multi-racial politics”.

He said since it would affect other BN partners, Gerakan might as well oppose such a move.

“Gerakan is not meddling in Umno’s affair,” he said, addding that his party would raise this issue at the next BN supreme council meeting.

Teng said Gerakan welcomed the third vote because it believed in local democracy and there is a growing public demand for it.

“Restoring local government elections would reflect grassroots sentiments,” he said. – Free Malaysia Today


Our family was never political. My grandfather, Raja Sir Tun Uda, was the Governor of Penang when first MCA and then Gerakan ruled the state. He had been the Governor, the first in fact, since Merdeka in 1957.

My grandfather was very close to Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, as well as with the Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. You could say he was buddies with them and would socialise with these two top men of Malaysia. The strange thing, however, is that my grandfather never became an Umno member. And neither did my father or any of his brothers.

You can’t say, though, that my father did not have the interest of the Malays at heart. When Walls, the ice cream manufacturer, first set up its factory in Bangsar under the Lever Brothers (now Unilever) banner, my father tried to get Malays involved in the ice cream vendor business.

Walls offered to give Malays free bicycles (in those days the vendors sold ice cream using bicycles) plus stocks of ice cream on consignment. So, basically, no capital was required. Walls would finance Malays to start their ice cream vendor business. And this was before the New Economic Policy of 1970.

But no Malays came forward. So Walls extended the offer to Chinese and Indians and there was a flood of applications. Can you remember back in the 1960s they would go round on bicycles selling ice cream? And can you remember that hardly any were Malays? They were mostly Chinese and Indians.

I remember my father coming home from office one day talking about it. He usually never talked about his work. But this time he just could not contain his disappointment. He was sincerely trying to help Malays get into the ice cream vendor business but the Malays were just not interested. But when he opened that opportunity to Chinese and Indians there was almost a riot. The response was so overwhelming that it almost brought tears to my father’s eyes because he felt that the Malays had lost a great opportunity.

I had not yet turned 18 and therefore not even old enough to vote. So politics was definitely furthest from my mind, as it is with most teenagers. And the fact that our family was apolitical made it worse.

My father, in fact, looked down on politicians. It is not that he did not personally know most of them. Many were his contemporaries in school and in university in UK (Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak included). My father was a barrister of Lincolns Inn so he was well connected to the who’s who of Malaysia at that time. But he chose the private sector to a career in government or politics.

My father was also anti-monarchy of sorts, at least as far as the Selangor Sultanate was concerned. In the 1960s he crossed swords with the Sultan of Selangor (the late Agong and father to the present Sultan) and was persona non grata in the Selangor Palace. One day he shocked my mother by saying that JKR (Jabatan Kerja Raya or the Public Works Department) is actually Jaga Konek Raja (taking care of the Sultan’s dick).

My mother chided him, while we kids, of course, had a good giggle. It seems my father’s anger was brought on by an incident that he viewed as the Sultan abusing his power. And the ‘abuse of power’ was with regards to the massive new palace that JKR built in Kelang at the expense of the taxpayers.

That was my father, for whatever it was worth.

One day my father came home all excited. And the reason for his excitement was because a new party called Gerakan had just been launched. As I said, my father was anti-politics so that was the first time we ever saw him excited about a political party. And my father’s excitement was because not only was Gerakan an opposition party but a multi-racial party on top of that.

Yes, my father believed that the future of Malaysia lay in a multi-racial party. And on 11 May 1969, my father, for the first time, went out to vote. And he voted opposition. And he openly declared that he voted opposition, much to my mother’s horror who told him to shush and not tell everyone he voted opposition.

My father died soon after, before he could see his dream shattered. Not long after my father died Gerakan joined Barisan Nasional. My father would have been devastated if he had lived long enough to see that happen.

Yes, my father was what we can label as a ‘progressive’ Malay, as most educated Malays of the 1950s and 1960s were. It was very common at that time to see elite Malay homes have bars stocked with the best whiskey, brandy and gin. That was how things were 50 years ago. But my father also pondered on how he could help the Malays. And he would never support a racist party. His heart was with multi-racial parties like Gerakan.

However, along the way, Gerakan lost its way. It became part of the monster that it was formed to oppose. It was because of Gerakan that my father came out of the closet and became political, the last couple of years before he died.

Today, Gerakan is still lost. It clings to Barisan Nasional and refuses to extricate itself from the monster that is bringing this country down. Gerakan just can’t see that its future is not with Barisan Nasional. The country’s future is not with Barisan Nasional.

And Gerakan is going to drown together with its ‘big brother’ Umno. And when that happens my father will finally rest easy in his grave. And for the sake of my father I must make sure that this will happen. And when it does I will be able to walk proud and tall and declare to the world that I am the son of Raja Kamarudin Bin Raja Sir Tun Uda — the man who cared about the Malays and wanted to see a true-blue multi-racial Malaysia emerge.


Translated into Chinese at: