More flak for Koh as outspoken Gerakan members voice views

(The Star) – KUALA LUMPUR: While most Gerakan members are standing behind party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, some are more vocal in their opinions.

Selangor Gerakan Youth deputy secretary Stephen Doss said he agreed with Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe who criticised Dr Koh for lack of leadership.

“The president should consider if he is a winnable candidate for the general election.

“We must be reminded that he lost in the 2008 general election,” he said.

Doss also said Dr Koh’s leadership did not put the party’s interest above himself, claiming that he was being surrounded by “yes men”.

Although the Wanita Gerakan delegates did not applaud Tan’s speech until the end, many of those interviewed said they supported her statement while some described it as her “personal opinion”.

However, Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si Pin stressed that it was important for members to close ranks and support their president as he was democratically elected.

“Like it or not, he is still our president and we have to stand behind him,” he told reporters after opening the Youth meeting.

Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who was at a press conference with Tan, said members could express their views freely, adding that it would not jeopardise the party’s spirit or camaraderie.

“Let the delegates decide and debate during the conference,” he said.

Serdang division delegate Cheah Cheng Huat urged Dr Koh to contest in the general election, adding that the party should “let people be the judge”.

“In my opinion, he is a good leader because he did not run away from carrying out the responsibilities of a leader when he could have,” he said.

Dr Koh had tendered his resignation following the party’s poor performance in 2008 but stayed on following the request of then president Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

Earlier, when opening the Youth meeting, Lim said Cabinet decisions must be based on consensus of opinion from all Barisan Nasional parties.

Suggesting a “joint governance” system in which the Barisan council would be placed above the Cabinet, he added: “This is a Barisan government, not an Umno government nor an MCA, MIC or Gerakan government.”

“Why are issues concerning education, economy and religion only left to certain ministers and not based on consensual agreement among all component parties?” he asked.

“If this is a power-sharing coalition government, shouldn’t this be planned from the beginning at the Barisan Council level?” he said.