At a point Gerakan was threatening to quit Barisan Nasional – especially after public spat with Umno Penang. However, after seeing the party president, branch chief and Wanita wings made a minister, deputy ministers respectively – the wound seem to be healing.
The appointment of Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon into the cabinet showed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s trust and confidence in the former Penang chief minister, according to the party’s central working committee (CWC).
It said in a statement today that Dr Koh’s appointment as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of unity and performance management would promote greater national unity and enhance performance in line with the Prime Minister’s “1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” motto.
Gerakan failed to secure a ministerial post under the leadership of former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the party suffered a dramatic loss in the March 8, 2008, general election. The party also lost grip of the Penang state government at the polls.
Apart from Dr Koh, who was made senator yesterday, Selangor Gerakan chief senator A. Kohilan Pillay was appointed deputy foreign minister while its Wanita head, Datuk Tan Lian Hoe, was made deputy domestic trade and consumer affairs minister.
Obviously, the appointment didn’t come without a string attach. Firstly, it would silence those within the party who have floated the idea of deputy prime minister II – for Gerakan in the new government.
Secondly, Najib has put the party under pressure to perform, re-take Penang from DAP comes next general election. Otherwise how are they going to repay him for his trust on them?