KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Gerakan is backing Barisan Nasional’s (BN) proposal to stop allocating quotas to component parties in seat allocations for the next general election.
Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong expressed confidence in voter support for the party, when asked if ending the quota practise would result in the Chinese-dominant party getting fewer seats to contest in the 14th general election.
“We have been working hard and appointed our coordinators two years ago, so we are confident we are strong in our ‘kawasan’,” Mah told Malay Mail Online, using the Malay word for “constituency”.
“This is an idea worth consideration. A candidate may be popular in a party but not necessarily popular with the rakyat. So, selection will be based on most winnable candidate concept. This will be something new and will be discussed in the coming BN meeting,” he added.
BN’s non-Malay component parties — Gerakan, MCA, MIC, and Sarawak’s SUPP — performed poorly in the 13th general elections.
Gerakan had only won one parliamentary seat out of the 11 they contested. MCA won seven out of 37 seats they contested; MIC four out of nine; and SUPP one out of seven.
Deputy prime minister and acting Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told New Sunday Times and Berita Harian in an interview published yesterday that the ruling coalition would focus on winnable candidates, instead of using quotas for seat allocations among component parties.
MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told Malay Mail Online that BN component parties would insist on maintaining the practise of deciding seat allocations via consensus in the coalition.
“We will definitely work with the BN leadership to identify, within our component parties, candidates who have the highest chance of winning.
“But then, the agreed formula within Barisan Nasional parties of sharing seats and that virtue of sharing power — we’ll definitely stick to it and maintain this stand within Barisan Nasional,” he said.
MCA Wanita chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie told Malay Mail Online that her party’s top leadership was still discussing the matter.
SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian could not be reached.
BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a Sunday Star interview that the ruling coalition will evaluate its candidates for the 14th general elections using a “new and tough” system that has failed even top leaders from its component parties.
Umno minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said last September that the biggest weakness of MCA, MIC and Gerakan was their insistence on using “parachute candidates” to contest elections, unlike the Malay nationalist party that fields local candidates.