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By Alexander Chen
KOTA KINABALU: Gerakan was nearly wiped out in the peninsula, made history when it won its first two state seats in Sabah. In fact it was a 100 per cent victory for the Penang-based party.
Gerakan’s two candidates, Datuk Raymond Tan and Au Kam Wah retained their Tanjung Papat and Elopura seats in Sandakan, which they first won while in the SAPP.
Elsewhere, Gerakan was almost annihilated, retaining only one parliamentary seat –
Simpang Renggam and one state seat – Pemanis, both in Johor.
The party contested 11 parliamentary seats and 31 state seats in all. This result is worse than its 2008 general election results where the party won two out of 12 parliamentary seats and four of the 31 state seats it contested.
Both Tan and Au were quick to thank the Sandakan voters for their support against an opposition onslaught that saw LDP president Datuk VK Liew lose his Sandakan parliamentary seat to the DAP.
Gerakan Sabah chief, Datuk Gordon Leong, said winning the two seats for the first time showed that Sabah voters have come to accept another peninsular-based party.
“But our two YBs will have to work extra hard now to serve the people. The constituents there will be expecting both our reps to give them the best of service,” he said.
Gordon did not want to comment on whether the party would push for one of its two YBs to be made Chinese (quota) deputy Chief Minister.
It must be noted though, that both Gerakan men won with reduced majorities, Au in particular, who was trailing most of the way in the vote count, till the last when he scraped through with a 251 majority.
In Elopura, Au must thank his former SAPP colleague Liau Fook Kong who attracted 469 votes, which was enough to deny DAP’s Hiew Vun Zin an upset win.
Au polled 8,105 votes to Hiew’s 7,854 in a closely-fought battle. In 2008 Au romped home with a 5,409 majority.
Tan saw his 2008 majority slashed down to 1,522 as DAP’s Poon Ming Fung secured 4,631 votes.
Meanwhile, Gerakan was trounced yet again in Penang and its Barisan Nasional chaiman Teng Chang Yeow announced his resignation within hours after the poll results were known.
Among the biggest casualties were deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn (Beruas parliamentary seat), vice-presidents Datuk Mah Siew Keong (Teluk Intan parliamentary seat) and A. Kohilan Pillay (Puchong parliamentary seat) as well as Wanita chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe (Taiping parliamentary seat).
Teng, who is also party sexretary-general lost the Bukit Tengah state seat.
Its sole parliament winner Liang Teck Meng managed to hang on to his Simpang Renggam seat with a 5,706 majority.
The party also failed to revive its fortune in Perak, Kedah, Selangor, Federal Territory, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Pahang.
Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said the party needed to go back to the drawing board if it wanted to remain relevant.