KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Oct 2008: Perak Gerakan chief Datuk Chang Ko Youn is the party’s new deputy president after beating his challenger Ma Woei Chyi at the Gerakan triennial elections for its central committee today.
Chang, 51, a vice president in the previous term, polled 851 votes while Ma, 37, a former Federal Territory Youth chief polled 635 votes. There were seven spoilt votes.
Chang was the expected favourite to fill the deputy president’s post which has been left vacant since 8 April 2007 when Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon became acting president after Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik retired.
Koh won the presidency unopposed at the party’s nominations on 4 Oct.
(from left) Huan, Vijay, Koh, Chang and MahIn the race for the three vice-presidents’ posts, former Youth chief Datuk Mah Siew Keong polled the highest number of votes at 1,153. He was followed by incumbent vice-president Datuk Dr S Vijayaratnam, who polled 678 votes, and former Batu Kawan Member of Parliament and former Penang Youth chief Huan Cheng Guan, who polled 568 votes.
A total of nine candidates were in the race for vice-president after Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan withdrew. Of the nine, three were Indian Malaysians and one was Malay Malaysian.
Kuala Selangor division secretary Dr Arsharuddin Ahmad just missed out on the VP spot when he polled 537 votes, 31 votes less than Huan.
Asharuddin said his fourth-placed result was “quite good” as this was the first time he had run for a post in Gerakan.
Asharuddin plans to be more active in the party “It shows that Gerakan members can accept non-Chinese Malaysian contenders. I will be more active in the party and campaign more to make a comeback next time,” Asharuddin said.
Koh, speaking at a press conference later, said the central committee would discuss whether a post should be given to Asharuddin.
Asked about losses by the non-Chinese Malaysian candidates at a time when Gerakan was touting its multiracial credentials, Koh said the delegates had voted for those whom they were familiar with and who had travelled around the country.
The winners — Chang, Mah, Vijayaratnam and Huan — had held senior party positions for some time or had been elected representatives and held federal cabinet posts, as in the case of Mah who was former Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister.
On Asharuddin’s result, Koh said it was a “good sign” for a new person to the race.
“Delegates voted based on performance and how familiar they are with the candidates, it has nothing to do with race,” he said.
In the central committee race, 18 were elected from a total of 39 candidates. Selangor chief A Kohilan Pillay and Federal Territory Wanita chief Jayanthi Devi Balaguru were the only two of seven non-Malaysian Chinese candidates who contested and won.