BN keeps Gerakan to lead Penang, possibly get more state seats

(The Malaysian Insider) – Barisan Nasional (BN) is to set to name Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow as its Penang chief while Dr Teng Hock Nan will continue to be state party chief as the ruling federal coalition seeks to recapture the island state from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) led by first-term Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The Malaysian Insider understands that BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak will announce the state coalition line-up tomorrow when arrives in Penang for the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is also learnt that Gerakan could get more state seats at the expense of coalition partner MCA although both parties lost all their seats in Election 2008.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will name Chang Yeow as the Penang BN chief in a renewed effort to get back the state,” a BN source told The Malaysian Insider.

Chang Yeow was a three-term state assemblyman for Padang Kota between 1995 and 2008 when he lost the seat and the state BN government fell. He was a state executive councillor between 2004 and 2008.

Hock Nan has been Gerakan Penang chief since 2008 and a party vice-president since 2005. He has also spent three terms as an assemblyman and was slotted to be a potential chief minister if Gerakan kept the state government in Election 2008.

He told Sin Chew Daily in an interview last July he did not intend to contest another general election but would leave it to the political situation to decide whether he should indeed make way. Hock Nan kept his state chief post after surviving a no-confidence vote against him in October 2010.

Both are not related although they share the same surname. However, Chang Yeow’s brother is Chang Khim, the Selangor state assembly speaker from the DAP.

“There are some discussions for Gerakan to get more seats as a sign of confidence that they can help form the state government. BN thinks Gerakan has a better chance than MCA to win seats in Penang,” another source told The Malaysian Insider.

But, he said, seat allocation is an on-going matter between the 13 parties in BN.

The Malaysian Insider reported last November that Gerakan was due to name either Chang Yeow or Penang vice-chief Ong Thean Lye to head the state chapter and recapture its one-time political fortress from the DAP in the next general election.

But Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon did not announce any names, keeping Hock Nan in the post.