Lings My Name is Singh puts on his Penangite hat and gives us the low-down on Penangites’ love-hate relationship with their homegrown party, Gerakan.

I was at Line Clear Nasi Kandar, having my nasi with juicy ayam goreng masala, blanched bendi, papadoms on the side with the best curry ever and a cup of teh tarik kurang manis while this uncle at the next table was singing Ji Ba Pan. No, that is not a curse word, although we use plenty of those daily.

You see people, I’m a Penangite, and we Penangites find so much bliss in eating delicious foods. We love Penang – the smell of the beach, the warm weather, the history, the big beautiful green trees, the unique people, the culture, and just about every single thing about Penang!

We are very nostalgic people. We like memories. We like to eat and talk, mostly al-fresco. We are simple people and we take great pride in being Penangites. Ever noticed how people from Penang always say “I’m from Penang” with a certain sense of confidence and pride? Yes, most of us do think being Penangite is so cool and so special. In Penang, as long as you can curse in Hokkien, we are brothers. I know, how crude right? But that’s the case for many of us, cursing has become a habit and soon to be culture.

We are straight forward people. We tak pandai pusing-pusing – if we think you stupid we say you are stupid, or mangkuk, and if your worse than that its mangkuk hayun. I’m used to hearing “Ask him go die la” so many times that it is simply a phrase to express disappointment. People here can be very harsh with their language, but that doesn’t mean they are rude or anything, it’s usually only between close friends. Ironic, isn’t it? We use curse words to a certain degree to portray closeness.

Gerakan 1969 political party
Gerakan celebrating in 1969

On my table was a copy of GERAKAN MattersApa Anak Malaysia Mahu?, the official newsletter of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia. Why on earth is Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia not in Pakatan Rakyat? This is probably because they are not listening to the rakyat.

I think I share the sentiments of the younger generation of Penangites with regards to Gerakan. I flipped through the pages of that zine, I saw the spirit of Penang encompassed in it. It contained articles written in or translated into Malay, Chinese and Tamil; okay, maybe just a little bit of Tamil.

So why did they loose big? Simple, because they refused to listen.

We love Gerakan, oh yes, the whole idea of it. The founding father, the principles, the ideology, the opposition voice in the Barisan Nasional, our homegrown Party – our pride! But they have failed us. Failed us by compromising too much, failed us for not opposing when they should, failed us by remaining silent. However, as I have said, we are sentimental a people and our love is true.

So if anybody from Gerakan is reading this, then hear this; we love Gerakan, oh yes we do! We are Penangites, we could even sweep DAP out the next election if we want to, so listen and listen well.

Just leave the coalition! Repent already! We are ever willing to forgive you and only you, so please join us, the Rakyat. Listen to us, we are asking you to leave Barisan Nasional, just leave. We are not asking you to join Pakatan but we are asking you to join the Rakyat! Well, you can join Pakatan if you want to, but leave Barisan Nasional; this is the will of Penangites! Listen to us, not UMNO, not the Prime Minister, not Khoo Tsu Koon, but us the younger generation.

Yeah, we do like our current Chief Minister, and I am sure he is going to be around for a while, as long as he doesn’t play us off. Nice guy la, but not so authentic, I mean we are proud of a person who holds true to good values, but we wished we had a Penangite like him. Not so important but we wished lah… it’s a state nationalism kinda thing. As things are now, Gerakan would most probably disappear soon if they don’t listen to Penangites. They should, because we love them, we want them out of Barisan Nasional. We don’t promise them the state, but we would like to see them as strong and wise oppositions.

Gerakan needs no rejuvenation plans; it just needs to leave Barisan Nasional, now. That is all, we are ever willing to forgive you, we want you back, do not disappoint us. I believe this is your last call, if you do not leave now I guess you have betrayed us for the last time. By the way, Line Clear Nasi Kandar, damn nice la wei!

Lingswaran Singh has been a LoyarBurokker since he was 5. He speaks an open but disinterested language, dictated not by passion but that of humanity. Independence is his happiness. His country is the world,...

8 replies on “Gerakan Matters”

  1. Interesting article. Gerakan is in a terrible position now. It has too few MPs and MLAs for it to be able to negotiate with either BN or PR, but if it tries to go it alone it will be wiped out in the next GE. It has no chance of winning its traditional seats in Penang, and it is doubtful that it will get any more from UMNO or MCA.

    It also has nothing to offer the Penang voter. If you want a multi-racial party, there already is DAP and PKR. If you want ethnic champions and federal handouts, might as well vote for MCA/UMNO, who at least control the important federal ministries. What exactly does Gerakan have to offer? Talent? Policies? What?

    If I were Gerakan, rather than try to survive the next GE as a tiny party like the PPP and slowly fade into insignificance, I would try to merge with PKR. The Gerakan leadership would get along with Anwar and other ex-UMNO people better than they would with LKS/LGE, and it would provide more of a potential counterweight to DAP in Penang.

  2. I'd rather all districts produce their own independents instead so that party and patronage politics will end for people who can act independently as MPs for the better of the Malaysian public. MP's in political parties can't do any good when toeing this and that party line or obeying the party president.

    So *NO* to Gerakan even if they leave BN, but mainly because it is too risky to vote for the many extremely wealthy, shadow elite connected, nominally nepotistic, Gerakan-mites who represent people who are too powerful or wealthy or too well networked that will AGAIN cause conflict of interest and control YOU the VOTER, not you control them to ensure more liberal laws or lower taxes or TRANSPARENCY.

    Perhaps a handful of 'clean' individuals (read Gerakan underdog leftovers that did not achieve extreme wealth or receive patronage during LCE's, Keng Yaik's or The UMNO Lapdog's time) within Gerakan could run as independents, but other than that (in fact applicable to any party), I'd avoid voting for anyone fitting into the above prohibited descriptions at all in favour of a fresh uncorrupted independent without the means to buy votes or promise business networks if voted. Conflict of interest and ethics should be the voting criteria.

    A burger stall owner, trishaw puller or roadside fruit seller would be less dangerous to vote for than a committee post bearing NGO linked, multiple business owning or business expanding intent wealthy person type who will toe party lines and have his OWN interests at heart first and foremost, than the Rakyat's, which typifies most Gerakan-mites.

    Identify the neutral ordinary people standing for election who will write better policy, amend by-laws, or speak fearlessly for the Rakyat instead. They at least are really there to ensure neutral public and neutral private sphere and will have nothing to gain from but who's presence will result in a better Malaysia.

  3. Who da hell bashing UMNO? He just said listen to the rakyat not UMNO. Blah lah rexuan! this aint abt UMNO, this is about Gerakan and Penangites!

  4. yeah.. keep on blaming umno, the nation's punching bag. so typical laa.. why dun u guys come out with something more refreshing.. umno bashing is already basi laa.. everybody else is already doing that..

  5. The day Lim Chong Eu leads Gerakan into the Barisan Nasional is when the party was infected with the cancerous growth of fame, position and wealth for the top leadership. gerakan was merely the vehicle of the president to win fame position and wealth. there was no attempt to really builts on the multi racial concepts. instead of recruiting and grooming young and new leaders it was getting discard from other parties, namely MCA to prop up the strength and influnce of the 3 ex presidents. all the old guards and members are shallow and by passed by the exodus brought in by lim keng yaik, the dong zhong influence by koh tsu koon and kerk choo ting. how may founder members are still with the party?

    it will take many days and even months to talk about the problems and faults of the party but to cut it short the only way to save the party is to go back to multi racial politics and be an alternative to BN and not to be a part of BN.

  6. Lings,

    for the respect of state nationalism, i would like to call PPP out of Barisan Nasional. the founding fathers were from Perak, my hometown. The name was Perak Progressive Party originally and now People's Progressive Party but they are not going for the sake of the PEOPLE anymore.

    i wonder what happen to the politicians nowadays. *sigh

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