On Saturday, I spoke to a member of Gerakan. He told me that some members in his party opined that the book on "Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia" is a political conspiracy against both the party advisor Dr Lim Keng Yaik and acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
As writers, both Neil and I are amazed by the allegations. Politicians must realise that their political actions come with a price. The price is public scrutiny of their track record as leaders. A criticism is poignant for the survival and relevance of the party.
Another state leader is disappointed for being painted negatively just because he was nominated to contest a state seat in the same parliamentary constituency as his sibling. We did not paint the negative perception of nepotism. The feedback gathered from various sources pointed to the same conclusion. It was a sugar coated arrangement for them so that no loser losses all.
Then again, politicians do not like to be criticised. Momentarily, the party leaders reacted to the near total electoral defeat positively. Now, it seems that they have eased back to their old comfort zone. A supporter of Gerakan who claimed to know Dr Koh as a personal friend for 22 years called me earlier today to express the same sentiment.
Yesterday, the 60 year old Gerakan acting head told the press "I will not be president for more than two terms. I don't intend to." He said this was to give young Gerakan leaders the opportunity to helm the party. Ironically, these young leaders will not be young anymore come another 6 years.
It does not matter how long his tenure will be if crucial issues in the party are not being addressed. Dr Koh leadership must address how Gerakan is going to back to its roots - being a truly non-sectarian party - if it continues to tolerate a dominant communal partner in a communal based coalition.
What are the party responses to both the New Economic Policy and the social contract? The failure of the NEP is very obvious. The policy was successfully communalised by UMNO to become a tool to project its communal hegemony through the power to redistribute resources. Sadly, the policy did not promote a just income distribution but used to enrich a selected few.
We cannot deny the existence of the social contract. It is not purely a constitutional contract but a political contract agreed collectively by BN leaders. Inevitably, this contract whilst was intended to protect the socio-political interests of a particular community has stunted nation building.
This contract runs contrary to the Gerakan ideology of Bangsa Malaysia.
Can the party, under Dr Koh Tsu Koon, ask for a review of these two crucial policies?
Without addressing these issues, there is no hope for the revival of Gerakan as a truly non-sectarian party.
Six years is not a long time but it is enough to lead the party to its eventual political death if nothing drastic and bold is being done to address these issues.
We will eagerly awaiting the responses of his leadership with another book on the future of non-sectarian party.
Will Dr Koh leadership lead to a new era of a stronger and purposeful Gerakan or the last nail on its coffin?
The ball is in his court.
This picture paints a thousand words. I hope he has more faith in blogging now.
Picture from www.chanlilian.net