Saturday, October 11, 2008

Let people join Barisan directly, says Pak Lah

The Prime Minister has mooted setting up a "new group" in Barisan Nasional to give direct membership to those who wish to participate in Barisan but do not fancy its component parties.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also Barisan chairman, said this multiracial membership would not only make Barisan more inclusive but could be a good beginning for its reforms.

Calling it a possible important reform and new approach, he added that it is for the component parties to deliberate. He had raised the matter at the Barisan supreme council meeting on Oct 8.

Abdullah said several people had told him they supported and wanted to get closer to Barisan but did not want to join any of the component parties.

"But they want to be associated with Barisan and wish to be given an opportunity to talk in a format they think is appropriate and good. They want to interact with Barisan leaders and have been talking a lot about Barisan must do this and that," he said after opening the two-day Gerakan National Delegates Conference on Saturday.

Asked if the set-up would be as a Barisan supporter club or a political party, he said details had to be worked out by Barisan. "I just want to say that it is an opportunity (for the people) to join in a more organised and formal way. What name we are going to call it, I wouldn't know."

On whether this was the first step towards making Barisan a multiracial party, Abdullah said he would not predict what would happen in the future.

"If an experiment like this can exist and do well, I am very happy. Maybe in the future we go on as we are, but we don?t know, we must try," he said and opined that Barisan should provide a platform for these supporters of Barisan.

On whether this move was because the role of Gerakan and People's Progressive Party (PPP) is ineffective, he said it did not mean so and it was up to people's interpretation.

While pointing out that the people decide for themselves whether to join any party, he said the Barisan parties need to open up more.

He also pointed out that the PPP and Gerakan were originally formed to promote multiracialism but today both were dominated and associated with only a certain race."Previously I told (former Gerakan president Datuk Seri Dr Lim) Keng Yaik that there are Malays who may not want to join Umno or even PAS but prefer a multiracial party. I told him to please let them in because at least Gerakan is still Barisan's party."

"But this could not become a reality due to reasons."

Earlier, when mentioning this matter in his opening speech, he said the Gerakan founders? multiracial objective had not been realised today.

"I am not making an accusation, but Koh, it has not been achieved," he told Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon who was also seated on stage.

Nevertheless, he expressed confidence that Gerakan's plan to go on a membership drive to attract more multiracial members would work. He said even opposition party DAP is not actually multiracial.

Let people join Barisan directly, says Pak Lah
AsiaOne, Singapore

beritadarigunung: Onn Jaafar had said that years ago, and it was not accepted.