PETALING JAYA: Gerakan’s decision to join Perikatan Nasional and the sudden acceptance by the coalition has raised some eyebrows, and political pundits say Gerakan would be a “nice decorative item of multiracialism” in what is seen as a Malay-Muslim coalition.
They have questioned the timing of the move, though.
Political analyst Kenneth Cheng said Gerakan president Dominic Lau Hoe Chai had already voiced his intentions to join PN on numerous occasions since last year.
“Muhyiddin Yassin should have agreed to the request much sooner but the delay may be worth pondering. Are Barisan Nasional (comprising Umno, MIC and MCA) and PN (PAS and PPBM) driftng apart and is Muhyiddin in need of a Chinese-based party to replace MCA?,” he asked.
In that sense, he said, Gerakan may be beneficial to the coalition as a multiracial party in the governing coalition.
Earlier today, Lau confirmed that Muhyiddin had accepted the party into PN.
But Cheng, a member of Agora Society, a loose network of intellectuals, said it was an “opportunistic” move by Gerakan to join the governing coalition as the decision was not based on ideological principles or aspirations which are in line with PN.
”They want to be with the PN coalition which is the government at the moment,” he said.
Gerakan lost in all 11 Parliament and 31 state seats it contested in GE14. A month later after the May 9 polls, the party announced it was quitting BN to play the role of an independent and constructive opposition party.
Since then, Gerakan has been looking at ways to kickstart its stalled political journey.
Political analyst Oh Ei Sun said accepting a tiny component party – Gerakan has one state assemblyman, even that a DAP defector – into the PN fold could be seen as “a nice decorative item of multiracialism”.
“As far as PPBM is concerned, it is almost harmless to accept Gerakan.
“After all, ministerships can be almost endlessly created, and there are plenty of senatorships to spare too,” said Oh of Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Political analyst Azmi Hassan said it was a strategic move by Muhyiddin to add a multiracial party into PN.
“Furthermore, Muhyiddin can give a few seats to Gerakan to contest in Penang without having any objections from PPBM and PAS,” he added.