Gerakan banks on Tanjung Piai vote to mark return as political ‘third force’

Gerakan president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau (centre) during the launch of Gerakan’s Tanjung Piai by-election operations centre in Taman Utama, Pekan Nanas in Pontian October 28, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan
Gerakan president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau (centre) during the launch of Gerakan’s Tanjung Piai by-election operations centre in Taman Utama, Pekan Nanas in Pontian October 28, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan

PONTIAN, Oct 28 — The upcoming Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election will solidify Gerakan’s future as a political “third force”, its president Datuk Dominic Lau said today. 

He said the party is positioning itself as an alternative to Malaysians dissatisfied with the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the Opposition bloc that includes Barisan Nasional (BN) — the coalition of which Gerakan had been part of till its exit in June last year after the 14th general election.

“Pakatan’s performance as the ruling government is questionable, while BN, through their cooperation with Umno and PAS, is heading towards a racial divided policy.

“It’s time to have a third force in politics and the Tanjung Piai by-election will be for Gerakan to enter the foray in the upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election after sitting out eight by-elections which have taken place since the 14th general election,” Lau said in launching his party’s electoral operations centre in Taman Utama, Pekan Nanas here.

Gerakan President Datuk Dr Dominic Lau (centre) said the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election will solidify Gerakan’s future as a political third force. — Picture by Ben Tan
Gerakan President Datuk Dr Dominic Lau (centre) said the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election will solidify Gerakan’s future as a political third force. — Picture by Ben Tan

Lau said the Tanjung Piai by-election was a strategic decision for Gerakan after sitting out the previous eight by-elections since May 9, 2018.

“Gerakan’s position is now stronger with our new leadership and we feel that the party is now prepared to make a return. 

“Basically, we are going back to our roots during the party’s establishment in 1968, where we were able to win Penang on our own during the 1969 general election,” said Lau. 

He added that at present the party has more than 300,000 members nationwide. 

Lau declined to disclose Gerakan’s candidate for Tanjung Piai, saying an announcement will be made at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. 

“What I can say is that the candidate is a local,” he said. 

Gerakan is expected to field the party’s deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam as candidate for the upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election. — Picture by Ben Tan
Gerakan is expected to field the party’s deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam as candidate for the upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election. — Picture by Ben Tan

It has been speculated that Gerakan will be fielding the party’s deputy secretary-general Wendy Subramaniam for the November 16 by-election to choose the successor to Tanjung Piai MP Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik who died of heart complications on September 21.  

Wendy, a 38-year-old lawyer who hails from Johor, is currently a compliance officer and has been active in social community activities. 

Nomination is set for November 2. 

Gerakan is the first political party to launch its by-election machinery for the by-election, to be followed by MCA, PH and also BN. 

The former BN component withdrew from the coalition in June last year, and has never run in the Johor parliamentary seat before. 

Lau also alleged bias after seven of its party flags were seized by the Pontian District Council ahead of the Tanjung Piai by-election.  

He claimed the act was unfair as PH flags have been flying in many parts of the federal constituency.

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