CAMERON POLLS | Gerakan has decided against contesting in the Jan 26 Cameron Highlands by-election.
Party secretary-general Mak Kah Keong, in a statement today, said the decision was reached by the leadership after multiple consultations and discussions with grassroots members.
"There were mixed opinions from members at all levels, which the leadership regards as a positive sign of interest and commitment.
"However, after careful and comprehensive consideration, it was agreed that our primary task now is to focus on our ongoing efforts to strengthen the party, instead of engaging in a by-election.
"Cameron Highlands is not a traditional seat of the party, but we have a good track record, and enjoy a good relationship with the locals, especially in Tanah Rata," he said.
"As such, we decided that it is in the best interest of the party to sit out the coming by-election. The new leadership is undertaking efforts to introduce changes within the party which needs undivided attention and complete support from all members," he added.
According to Mak, the party is also yet to determine which candidate in the by-election it will support.
Earlier today, Malaysiakini reported that Gerakan, which has described itself as an independent political party since leaving BN in June last year, is likely to contest in the coming by-election.
A party source had said that Gerakan may field its Cameron Highlands deputy division chairperson Dr Eddie Edward Tharmaraj as the candidate in the by-election, as he had expressed interest in standing for the polls.
BN had yesterday announced its candidate, former top police officer Ramli Mohd Nor (photo), an Orang Asli from Cameron Highlands. He will be contesting as a BN direct candidate.
DAP, meanwhile, will be fielding M Manogaran in the by-election. This will be Manogaran's third time contesting the seat.
Disputed MyPPP president M Kayveas had also announced he would be contesting the seat.
The ethnic composition of voters in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constitutency is as follows: 15 percent Indian; 22 percent Orang Asli; 30 percent Chinese; and 34 percent Malay.
The seat was won in the 14th general election by MIC's C Sivarraajh, with a slim 597-vote majority.
However, the seat was declared vacant by the Election Court in November last year, after it was determined that corrupt practices led to BN's win.
MIC chose not to appeal against the Election Court's decision.
Nevertheless, Sivarraajh challenged the Election Commission's (EC) announcement that he was disqualified from contesting in the by-election and that he would be barred from contesting and voting in any election for the next five years.
In its ruling yesterday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed Sivarraajh’s challenge against the EC’s order.
Nomination day for the by-election is this Saturday. Early voting is on Jan 22 while polling day is Jan 26.