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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raymond Tan Joins Gerakan (Update)

The much awaited decision of Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, YB Datuk Raymond Tan has finally joined Party Gerakan, a BN component party along with Elopura Assemblyman, Au Kam Wah this morning at 9.15am.
Raymond Tan , who is also the Infrastructure Development Minister and Tanjong Papat Assemblyman, was formerly the deputy President of SAPP. He was partyless since SAPP pulled out last Sept 17 from the BN citing lost of confidence in the federal leadership and unhappiness over a host of unresolved local grievances.
Sabah's MCA offer to the incumbent deputy Chief Minster, Datuk Raymond Tan to join the party did not bear fruit despite its renewed effort to get him to their side. 
State MCA deputy chairperson Datuk Paul Kong had earlier welcomed the prospect of Tan joining his party. 
"The party would be strengthened with the presence of Raymond," he said. "He will bring with him a wealth of experience in government and politics."
The state MCA offer to Tan comes despite him dismissing the possibility of joining any of the BN component parties in the state who have been "unfriendly" to him and demanding that he quit his state cabinet and government posts. MCA and the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) have been in the forefront demanding his ouster.
Tan's membership in Gerakan would be considered as a passport for him to keep his present state cabinet and government posts. The Chief Minister is expected to exercise his prerogative powers and would make his announcement soon in favour of Tan.
According to Bernama reoprts, Gerakan national chairman Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon made the announcement minutes before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's arrival for the meet-the-people session at Padang Merdeka here, Tuesday.
Former Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth chief and state assemblyman for Elopura Au Kam Wah also made a similar commitment. Dr Koh thanked Tan and Au for choosing Gerakan as the political platform to continue their struggle with the Barisan Nasional (BN) and said that both would hand over their application forms to Gerakan soon. "We welcome their commitment to join Gerakan. Raymond and Au have been my friends and Gerakan's friends for over 15 years and have jointly struggled for Sabahans and Malaysians in general within the BN," he said. He said their decision was apt and understandable as Gerakan was a multiracial party and its door was always open to Malaysians. He said Najib, as BN chairman, and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had been informed of Tan and Au's decision and had given their blessing. Asked whether Tan, former deputy president of SAPP, would be given a post in Gerakan, Dr Koh said that he would make the announcement at the appropriate time. Speaking to reporters later, Tan said: "I have chosen Gerakan because Gerakan is a safe home and it is the home that I have been looking for". "I didn't do it just because I picked what I like. I think it's more of what the grassroots want. It doesn't matter what happens to me. What is important is the people who have been with me and I told that I would find them a home. "It's not easy because we have to talk to so many component party leaders and all of them are very supportive of me. I think this is the time that I have to make a decision and Tan Sri (Koh Tsu Koon) is no stranger to us for many years," he said. Asked on the call for him to relinquish his deputy chief minister's post, he said: "These people who make statements against me or who are angry with me will probably continue to do but it doesn't matter. I understand their feelings but it's more important that they understand me". Tan, who is also state Infrastructure Development minister, became partyless after SAPP left the BN coalition on Sept 17 last year. Prior to this, several parties had called on Tan to quit his posts as deputy chief minister and Infrastructure Development minister. Even Umno leaders like Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh had hinted that the BN had never agreed to have independent BN supporters. At the same time, the option of forming a new party raised objections from the same component parties who were not in favour of Tan being retained in the cabinet, leaving him with very few political options.

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