By Bernie Yeo
PARTI Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia’s (Gerakan) move to join Perikatan Nasional (PN) has raised a few eyebrows, and not in a good way.
For a political party that has been lifeless since its failure to win any seats during the 2018 general election, Gerakan’s entry to become one of the coalition’s component parties reveals its willingness to cling on to the ‘bigger fish’ for survival, even if that meant siding with a coalition that has lost cabinet majority.
By accepting a party that has no representation in the parliament for the first time since its formation, PN, on the other hand, let slip its desperate need for a rural booster after losing majority support with the acceptance of Gerakan into the PN coalition (which is regarded merely as a PR exercise to many political observers).
For a party who had previously regarded the Penang state as its stronghold, it is certainly interesting to see how Gerakan will regain prominence there. With the Democratic Action Party (DAP) doing a good job with Penang, how this will play out is anybody’s guess.
Here’s another interesting titbit to ponder. Multi-racial Gerakan is a Chinese-based party who has since its formation in 1968 banked on the Chinese community for support.
But here’s where it gets messy: there is already a Chinese-based party within the PN coalition.
As one of the major component parties of Barisan Nasional (BN), Malaysian Chinese Association’s (MCA) President Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has time and again reiterated support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the PN chairman, despite facing dwindling support from the Chinese community.
This bodes the question, then: are Gerakan and MCA going toe-to-toe to compete for Chinese support, or is Gerakan, like MCA, going to be yet another showcase for bigger component parties like UMNO and Bersatu?
Looking at the bigger picture, one cannot help but wonder: will there be big things in the horizon for Gerakan, or will it simply be just another tool in PN’s arsenal for it to strengthen itself as a coalition of parties representing various ethnic groups in Malaysia? – Feb 17, 2021