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Penang Gerakan Chief Withdraws - Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Newly-elected Penang Gerakan chief Dr Teng Hock Nan has today withdrawn from the race for the party’s three vice-president posts.

Teng, 63, who garnered the highest number of votes in the 2005 vice-president contest, said he would not be defending his post to create a more “multiracial” Gerakan leadership.

It is believed that he had been told by party president Dr Koh Tsu Koon and ex-president Dr Lim Keng Yaik, who is party advisor, to give way to younger and non-Chinese leaders.

“In order to further promote and project the party's multi-racialism for all Malaysians which can be best represented by three vice-presidents, with the blessing of party president and party advisor, I have decided to withdraw from the contest of the vice-president's post,” he said in a brief two-paragraph statement.

“It is my sincere hope that all national delegates can vote for a more multiracial Gerakan for all Malaysians in the coming party elections.”

The party, which is nominally multiracial, has been in the past dominated by Chinese Malaysian leaders.

However, since its unprecedented defeat in the March 8 elections, where it lost the Penang government, Gerakan is seeking to reinvent itself as a truly multiracial party.

Chinese, Indian and Malay

The contest will see a 10-way battle royal for the three elected posts is also on the cards.

With Teng out of the race, the only incumbent defending the vice-president post is Dr S Vijayaratnam (left).

Mah Siew Keong, the outgoing Youth chief, is a clear frontrunner for the post.

By pulling out, Teng appeared to make it easier for Dr Asharuddin Ahmad, the first Malay to contest such a high post in the party, to clinch a seat.

However, Vijayaratnam is facing a tough challenge from the outspoken former Youth vice-chief S Paranjothy as well as Ampang and Bukit Indah division chief G Parameswaran.

Paranjothy (right) was a surprise candidate and the last of the 10 to submit his nomination papers on Sunday.

The remaining candidates are Huan Cheng Guan, Robin Loh, Dr Lim Thuan Seng and Lum Weng Keong.

The Gerakan elections will be held this coming Saturday when the party meets at its annual congress on Oct 10-12 in Kuala Lumpur.

Won by 10 votes

Koh was elected unopposed as party president when nominations closed last weekend.

The deputy presidency will be contested by Perak Gerakan chief Chang Ko Youn and Federal Territories Gerakan Youth chief Mah Woei Chyi.

Both are vying for the post for the first time, but Chang - who is state chief of Perak, a key Gerakan state - is likely to win the post.

Teng had two weeks ago won the plum Penang state chief post by edging out Chai Kwang Chye with a margin of only 10 votes.

Chai, who is Gerakan secretary-general, opted not to contest any national post following the defeat.

Yawn. Outdated party.