KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Oct 2008: Lim Si Pin is the new Gerakan Youth chief. The 39-year-old, whose father is ex-party president Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, received 242 votes in a three-cornered battle at the Gerakan Youth national assembly today.
Lim beat challengers Chai Tek Loong, who got 105 votes, and Tan Keng Liang (115 votes). Chai is the Negeri Sembilan Youth chief, and Tan, Kedah Youth chief. There were 7 spoilt votes.
However, Lim’s running mate Paul Yong Yoon Kong lost out to Penang Youth chief Oh Tong Keong for the deputy’s position. Yong polled 188 votes to Oh’s 274. There were 3 spoilt votes.
The Youth chief’s post was left vacant after incumbent Datuk Mah Siew Keong exceeded the age limit of 45 to hold the position.
Mah will instead contest the party’s vice-presidency tomorrow.
New Gerakan Youth chief Lim Si PinAs the new Youth chief, Lim, who was previously Mah’s deputy, said he wanted to grow the membership of Project Anak Malaysia by 100% as a way to revive the younger generation’s interest in politics.
Project Anak Malaysia is a youth project founded in 2000 that aims to train upcoming Gerakan leaders and inculcate patriotism, respect, tolerance and unity amongst young Malaysians. He said eventually he will look into setting up a National Anak Malaysia Association, a platform for “youngsters to meet and have dialogues on issues.”
“Youth nowadays have no affinity with politics. This is a platform for them,” he told reporters at a press conference soon after his win.
Furthermore, he said he will look into turning Gerakan Youth into the first youth organisation in the country to attain ISO 9001 certification, which would compel the party to meet key performance indicators.
During the 8 March 2008 general election, Lim contested for the Batu parliamentary seat, a former BN stronghold, but lost to Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s information chief Tian Chua.
Despite increasing rhetoric from Gerakan leaders about pushing forward the party’s multiracial ideology, the results of today’s party polls showed that the message had yet to be embraced by the Youth delegates.
Both non-Chinese Malaysian contenders for the three Youth vice-chief positions failed to make any headway. This is despite party president Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon’s call this morning for Gerakan Youth to be the “guinea-pigs for this great experiment in multi-racial politics”.
The new vice-chiefs for the wing are Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng, businessman David Ang Chin Tat, and lawyer Vincent Hooi Wy-Hon. On the losing end were Stephen Doss and S. Vijaya Kumar.
Eight-year Gerakan member Doss was unhappy with the results, and said the “all-Chinese line-up” made for a disappointing party election. Doss is also running for a position in the national central committee tomorrow.
“I thought the Youth wing would be more dynamic than the main body. I expect them to set an example,” Doss told The Nut Graph.
“I’ve always said Gerakan needs to go beyond the rhetoric. People like [Koh] are good leaders, but the election is a reflection of how little influence they have over the real politics that takes place in the party,” said Doss, who is head of research and development at the Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia.
Lim said the lack of multiracial representation in the Youth wing’s leadership should not stop the party from working with non-Chinese members who contested but didn’t win.
“Those who contested and lost have talent. As newly-elected leader, it is my job to spot talent and bring them back to work with us,” he said.
Today’s polls also saw the election of 18 central committee members for the youth wing.
The only non-Chinese Malaysian to win was 13-year Gerakan veteran A Kuhan, who is also the party’s special affairs officer for the Segambut constituency. He said race should not be an issue when electing party leaders.
“It’s a matter of how you contribute to the committee,” he said. “Performance and credibility are more important.”
Tomorrow, 11 non-Chinese Malaysians out of 50 candidates will be contesting for vice-presidential and central committee positions in the party.