Ex-member backs Gerakan as third force

Umno must learn to stop meddling, says Dr Hsu, who used to serve in the Gerakan central committee.

(Free Malaysia Today) – A former Gerakan official today added his voice to a warning that the party may quit Barisan Nasional if other components of the ruling coalition meddle too much in its business.

Dr Hsu Dar Ren, the central committee member who quit the party early this year, said he agreed with the anonymous Penang BN leader who issued the warning in an interview with FMT on Monday.

“I think that should be the ultimatum given to Umno,” Hsu said. “Gerakan cannot realise its own ideology with so much dominance by Umno’s hegemony.”

The senior BN leader said yesterday that Gerakan could turn out to be a formidable third force in Malaysian politics if it quit BN, as it might if there was unwarranted intrusion into its affairs, especially in its choice of someone to succeed Koh Tsu Koon as Penang BN chairman.

Hsu said Umno must learn to stop dictating how other component parties should carry themselves.

“Umno and other BN component parties must give some space for component parties like Gerakan to move about and settle their own internal problems,” he said.

“If you want Gerakan to lead the election battle in Penang, then leave them be. I support the view that Gerakan should pull out of BN if there is too much meddling from others.”

“The Gerakan leadership, being quite mild, could never rock the boat. And so Umno takes advantage of this. The Penang people have rejected Gerakan not because of Gerakan itself, but because Gerakan could never stand up to Umno.”

Hsu, a physician, quit the party last March 8, exactly three years after the 12th general election, which was disastrous for Gerakan. He cited Umno’s racial politics and its domineering attitude in BN as well as lack of will within BN to reform itself.

He acknowledged that other parties in BN should have a say in the appointment of the coalition’s leader in Penang or anywhere else, but he said they present their opinions only in the BN council, and after Gerakan had submitted its candidate’s name.

Emotional statement

Reacting to the warning of a Gerakan pullout, Penang MCA secretary Lau Chiek Tuan accused the party’s leaders of blaming others for their own mess.

”You cannot use something like this as ransom,” he said.