New Gerakan chief determined to revive party’s fortunes

(The Star) – Clad in his white Gerakan party uniform, the recently elected party president Mah siew Keong 52, greets the Star online with a smile at his office at the party headquarters.

Mah certainly has his work cut from him. “I joined the party 20 years ago, when it was still growing at the grassroots level. I was then asked to contest for the Teluk Intan state seat, a seat that was never won by Barisan Nasional and my luck was such that I did.”

Mah, who is fact a native of Teluk Intan, acknowledges that the party’s fortunes at its lowest since its formation in the late 1960s.

“Since I have taken on the party presidency, I have received multiple remarks on the net and the media on how Gerakan as a party has become irrelevant, and it is sad considering the fact that just six years ago, we had one Minister, three deputy ministers, a chief minister, 10 MP’s and 30 state assemblymen.

“At present we only have one parliamentary seat and three state seats, and I understand that the party is weak and it is about time we re-strategise,” he said.

Mah himself served as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Trade and  Industry as well as the Ministry of Agriculture.

The father of three explained that the key for him is to continue working hard and serving the people even when the party does do well in the election.

“I am aware that the organisation as a whole is not strong, and we are looking to recruit more members of the Gen Y. This is important because Gen Y has become more and more relevant and in many ways influence the decisions of the Gen X. Therefore, I am currently targeting that at least 70 to 80 percent of candidates are in their thirties and fourties in upcoming elections as compared to the 50 percent in the precious election” he added.

He said that the party  had failed to engage the people well and will work towards strengthening their approach through the internet.

“One of the many things we can be proud about is the fact that none of our leaders were corrupted. Not one Gerakan leader was ever involved in a corruption scandal and not once were they ever accused of corruption. These are one of the many assets of the party we are looking to build on,” he said.

Mah said that he would give attention to is driving the party to becoming a more multi-racial party than it currently is. Gerakan initially started off as a genuinely multi-racial party but once leaders like the late V. David and Syed Hussein Alatas left the party, it was dominated by Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu and Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, becoming overwhelmingly Chinese in the process.