KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Oct 2008: The Gerakan leadership will meet members in all states to discuss calls for the party to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Gerakan will also assess the progress of reforms as promised by outgoing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before making any decision on leaving the coalition.
There will be no timeframe for this, party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon told reporters today after opening the Wanita and Youth general assemblies.
“We will go state by state to discuss this and other matters related to Gerakan’s role in the BN and the strengthening of the party. Let us be a little more patient with the reforms promised; let’s give the BN and give Gerakan a chance to reform.
“It’s like a relationship – you don’t set timeframes. When you go out with your girlfriend for the first time, you don’t tell her you want to get married in two months’ time,” Koh said.
He refused to state whether a special meeting will be held to vote or debate on the party’s status in BN.
The proposal for a separate meeting was raised by outgoing Youth chief Datuk Mah Siew Keong in his speech at the assembly.
“I call on the new party leadership to be elected tomorrow to schedule a special meeting to debate this,” Mah said. The parent body of Gerakan will hold its central committee election tomorrow.
“Gerakan is a founding party of the BN and any decision must avoid splitting the party. We don’t want to be like the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) which split after one faction left because they didn’t agree with pulling out of the BN,” Mah said.
Koh also called for inter-racial and religious issues to be resolved in a fair manner.
He said problems from religious conversions in inter-racial marriages were the minority, which if not handled properly could become a source of tension.
He also said Gerakan would offer its experience in approving the building of non-Muslim places of worship to the Federal government.
“We have had this experience when we were the former Penang government,” he said.