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Penang’s political roadmap

Updated On: Sep 29, 2008

Gerakan is the next component party thinking of defecting from leaving the Barisan Nasional, delivering yet another blow to the political alliance. Another option, according to its acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon is not to leave and be independent. A third option is to join Pakatan Rakyat.

Dr Koh hinted that based on unscientific survey, more than 60% want to leave. Rumours have it that 20 FT Gerakan members have already defected to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). Dr Koh himself will be competing for the party presidency in the October 2008 party elections.

Because of the recent political turmoil in Malaysian politics, some even speculate that acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, vice-president Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nam and secretary-general Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye, the trio which had been nicknamed as the "Iron Triangle" of power or the “Dream Team” in Geranakan is facing some strains.

Their closeness arose from same origins in terms of power base by starting out in the Bukit Bendera constituency. Dr Koh was previously the state assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah, Dr Teng was the Pulau Tikus state assemblyman (both Bukit Bendera seats) and Chia was the MP before his loss in the 8 March 2008 general election.

Party observers say that the trio are not held together tenuously. Both Dr Teng and Chia are even rivals for the next Penang chief minister. Dr Teng also ran against Chia for the Penang state Gerakan chairperson's position which especially infuriated Chia since there was a gentlemen’s agreement earlier for Chia to take over the post after Dr Koh had given it up. Dr Teng decided to unilaterally cut this agreement, according to some sources, at the last moment.

Chia then dropped a bombshell by suggestion that the party should leave Barisan. Some saw this as a strategy to strengthen support for him against Teng. Eventually, Chia’s political gambit did not pay off and some delegates threw their support to Dr Teng, who won by a slim 10-vote majority. Some analysts now wonder if this will internally split the party. There are also rumors that Dr Teng and Chia will fight it out again for the deputy president's post in the party's elections scheduled for 11 October 2008. Chia is said to be financially saddled from these contests.

Sources:

Goh, Lisa, “Dr Koh considering the possibility of party leaving Barisan Nasional” dated 29 September 2008 in The Star website [downloaded on 29 September 2008], available at http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/9/29/nation/2144157&sec=...

Ting, Alan, "Is Gerakan's iron Triangle Breaking Up?" dated 28 September 2008 in Bernama website [downloaded on 29 September 2008], available athttp://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newspolitic.php?id=361758







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