Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia

The Malaysian People's Movement Party (Malay: Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, commonly abbreviated as Gerakan or less commonly as PGRM) is a political party in Malaysia. The party was founded on 24 March 1968, and is one of the former constituents of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. During its formation, Gerakan was an opposition party not affiliated with the national ruling coalition, the Alliance Party, the predecessor of the National Front. Following the 1969 general election, Gerakan won most of the seats in the state legislature of Penang. However, in 1972 Gerakan joined the Alliance Party which later became the coalition Barisan Nasional, where it remained until June 2018. In 2006, about 80% of Gerakan's members are ethnic Chinese, another 15% are Indian, and the rest are Malays or other races.[2] The party is assisted by an affiliated think tank called SEDAR Institute (Socio-Economic Development And Research Institute). The party is a member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. Following the fall of BN in the 2018 general election and in the aftermath of four Sarawak-based BN coalition parties leaving the coalition on 12 June 2018, Gerakan also left the coalition on 23 June 2018.[3]

Malaysian People's Movement Party
Chinese name马来西亚民政运动党 Mǎláixīyà mínzhèng yùndòng dǎng
Malay nameParti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia
Tamil nameமலேசிய மக்கள் இயக்கக் கட்சி Malēciya makkaḷ iyakkak kaṭci
PresidentDominic Lau Hoe Chai
Secretary-GeneralMak Kah Keong
Deputy PresidentOh Tong Keong
Vice-PresidentBaljit Singh Jigiri Singh
David Chong Vee Hing
Koo Shiaw Lee
Youth ChiefOoi Zhi Yi
Women ChiefJanice Wong
FounderSyed Hussein Alatas
Tan Chee Khoon
J.B.A. Peter
Lim Chong Eu
Wang Gungwu
Veerappen Veerathan
Founded24 March 1968
Legalised28 May 1968
HeadquartersLevel 5, Menara PGRM, 8, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Think tankSocio-Economic Development And Research Institute (SEDAR)
Youth wingPemuda Gerakan
Women's wingWanita Gerakan
Political positionCentre
National affiliationBarisan Nasional (1973–2018)
International affiliationLiberal International (observer)[1]
Alliance of Democrats
Regional affiliationCouncil of Asian Liberals and Democrats
Colours     Red, green, white, gold
SloganSatu Hati Gerak Bersama (Forward Together with One Heart)
AnthemSatu Hati
Dewan Negara:
2 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
0 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
0 / 587
Party flag
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In 1959, the leader of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Dr. Lim Chong Eu resigned his position as president after conflict with UMNO leader Tunku Abdul Rahman over the allocation of seats in the 1959 general election. He left MCA, and later set up the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1962. In 1968, UDP was dissolved and its former members, together with the Labour Party and others, joined force to form a new party Gerakan.[4] The six founders of the party were Professor Syed Hussain Alatas, Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Dr. J.B.A. Peter, Lim Chong Eu, Professor Wang Gungwu, and V. Veerapan.[5] Although the majority of its supporters were Chinese, the party positioned itself as a Malaysian, non-communal party that received some support from the Indians and Malays. Its pro tem president was Professor Syed Hussein Alatas, and later Lim took over the presidency which lasted until 1980.[6]


The party won the state of Penang in the 1969 general election by taking 16 out of 24 seats, winning control from the MCA. Lim Chong Eu became Penang's Chief Minister. Gerakan and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which won in Kelantan, were the only parties not then affiliated with the Alliance Party to form a state government in Malaysia. However, due to internal disputes within the party, for example over plan for closer ties with Alliance, the party was split. Many of its members, such as Syed Hussein Alatas, V. David, Veerappen, and Tan Chee Khoon, left to form Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia (PEKEMAS).[7] The PEKEMAS party however proved to be short-lived, and Gerakan itself became reduced and largely Chinese as many non-Chinese left the party. In 1972, Gerakan joined the Alliance which became Barisan Nasional (BN) in 1973.[8]

In 1973, a number of former MCA members from Perak and Selangor who were expelled from the party, including Lim Keng Yaik and Paul Leong Khee Seong, joined Gerakan.[9][10] In 1980, Lim Chong Eu decided to retire from the post of party president, and Lim Keng Yaik won the presidency over Lim Chong Eu's preferred candidate Paul Leong.[11] Lim Keng Yaik stayed as president of Gerakan until he decided to retire in 2007.

Gerakan had continual conflicts with MCA as it challenged MCA's position as the main Chinese party within BN. In the 1978 general election, disputes broke out between Gerakan and MCA as seven ex-MCA members (with support from MCA) stood against Gerakan.[12] The party lost some seats but managed to retain its stronghold Penang despite losing its position as the biggest party in Penang. Gerakan also sought to expand its influence in others states, especially in Perak, an effort helped by continued defections from MCA. In 1979, Michael Chen stood against Lee San Choon for the MCA Presidency but lost, then later in 1981 joined Gerakan.[13] He was followed by 120,000 dissidents MCA members, thereby allowing Gerakan to create of new branches and become a nationwide organisation. (Chen however later rejoined MCA after a failed challenge to replace Lim Keng Yaik as leader in 1984).[14] In the 1982 general election, it increased its representation in both the national level (from 4 to 5, out of 7 seats allocated) as well as state level (from 12 to 15).[15]

Before the 1986 general election, Gerakan came into conflict with UMNO when it was suggested that a Malay should replaced Lim Chong Eu as Penang Chief Minister after his term expired. Gerakan threatened to resign from BN unless it was allocated more seats.[16] It was then allocated 9 seats, it nevertheless lost 4 of these, thereby ending with the same number of seats (5). It also saw increased pressure from Democratic Action Party (DAP) which increased its representation in the Penang state assembly and overtook Gerakan as the second largest party in the state.[17]

In the 1990 general election, it suffered a setback when Lim Chong Eu was defeated by Lim Kit Siang of Democratic Action Party in his Kota constituency, after which Lim Chong Eu retired from politics.[6] Nevertheless, Gerakan retained the post of Chief Minister of Penang with Dr. Koh Tsu Koon taking over the position. In the 1995 general election, Gerakan bounced back, winning 7 parliamentary seats and 23 state seats.

For nearly four decades, from 1969 to 2008, although not necessarily the biggest party (UMNO was the biggest party in Penang for many years from the late 1970s onward), Gerakan played a dominant role in the Penang State Legislature, and became closely associated with the fortune of Penang. In that time there had been only two chief ministers in Penang, Lim and Koh Tsu Koon, both from Gerakan.[18] In 1996, in an attempt to win broader support, the party shifted its headquarter to Kuala Lumpur.[4]

In the 2004 general election, Gerakan achieved its best electoral result, winning 10 parliamentary seats and 30 state seats. On 27 August 2005, its president Lim Keng Yaik was challenged by the Deputy Kerk Choo Ting in its party election. Lim retained his party President post after winning with 983 votes against 628 votes for Kerk. Koh Tsu Koon became the new Deputy President which he won unopposed after the nomination day for the party election.


In 2008, Lim Keng Yaik retired from politics after relinquishing the post of party president in 2007. Koh Tsu Koon took over as acting president in 2007, and won the post of President uncontested in the 2008 party elections.[19]

In the 2008 general election, the party suffered its worst electoral defeat. The party retained only two parliament seats, compared to the 10 seats it had before the election. As a result, the party lost its only cabinet post in the ensuing cabinet shuffle. In addition, Gerakan also lost power in Penang after governing the state for almost 39 years.[20] Soon after the defeat, a number of prominent members, such as Tan Kee Kwong and Lee Kah Choon, went over to the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat to take up posts with Opposition-led state governments in Penang and Selangor.[21]

After the dismal performance in the 12th general election, Gerakan launched a party rejuvenation campaign in conjunction with the party's 40th anniversary celebrations on 25 May 2008 in its bid to rebound in mainstream politics and to regain people's confidence. It outlined three main thrusts, namely to voice Gerakan's ideology, policy position and advocate Malaysian solutions for various major issues, to rebuild, rebrand and re-empower the party at all levels, and to regain people's confidence.[22] The party also launched a new slogan, "Forward Together with One Heart" (Satu Hati Gerak Bersama), and set out its area of concerns and strategies.[23][24]

In the 2013 general election, the party failed to improve its position and losing one its two remaining parliamentary seats. Later in the year, Mah Siew Keong took over as president after beating Penang Gerakan chairman Teng Chang Yeow for the post.[25] In 2016, for the first time in history, the President of BN did not attend the annual general meeting of Gerakan and instead briefly appeared on video for 2 minutes.[26]

In the 2018 general election, Gerakan failed to win any seat and therefore had no representation in the parliament for the first time. On 23 June 2018, the party unanimously decided to leave BN in the aftermath of the election. The party will act as an independent party in the Opposition bloc to offer a check-and-balance to the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.[3]

Gerakan Central Committee


Dewan Negara (Senate)


  1. Ng Chiang Chin – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  2. Teo Eng Tee – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

List of party leaders

President of Malaysian People's Movement Party

Order Portrait Name[27] Term of office Elected
1 Syed Hussein Alatas 1968 1969
2 Lim Chong Eu 1969 1980
3 Lim Keng Yaik 1980 8 April 2007
Koh Tsu Koon 8 April 2007 4 October 2008 acting
4 Koh Tsu Koon 4 October 2008 16 May 2013
Chang Ko Youn 16 May 2013 26 October 2013 acting
5 Mah Siew Keong 26 October 2013 17 November 2018
6 Dominic Lau Hoe Chai 17 November 2018 Incumbent

General election results

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
8 / 144
178,971 7.5% 1 seat; Opposition Lim Chong Eu
5 / 144
3 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Chong Eu
4 / 154
1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Chong Eu
5 / 154
1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
5 / 177
; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
5 / 180
; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
7 / 192
2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
7 / 193
; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
10 / 219
257,763 3.7% 3 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Lim Keng Yaik
2 / 222
184,548 2.27% 8 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Koh Tsu Koon
1 / 222
191,019 1.73% 1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Koh Tsu Koon
0 / 222
128,973 1.07% 1 seat; No representation in Parliament Mah Siew Keong


  1. Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia Party Archived 26 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Liberal International, Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  2. Suthakar, K. (20 November 2006). "PPP offers Gerakan merger". The Star. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007.
  3. "Gerakan leaves Barisan Nasional". New Straits Times. 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  4. Keat Gin Ooi (2010). The A to Z of Malaysia. Scarecrow Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0810876415.
  5. "The Early Years, 1968–1972". Parti Gerakan Rakyak Malaysia.
  6. Cheah Kooi Guan (2012). Leo Suryadinata (ed.). Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 603–605. ISBN 978-9814345217.
  7. K S Sandhu, A Mani, ed. (1993). Indian Communities in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 259. ISBN 978-9812100177.
  8. Keat Gin Ooi (2010). The A to Z of Malaysia. Scarecrow Press. pp. ixvi–ixvii. ISBN 978-0810876415.
  9. Malte Kaßner (2014). he Influence of the Type of Dominant Party on Democracy: A Comparison Between South Africa and Malaysia. Springer VS. p. 99. ISBN 978-3658044374.
  10. Cheah Kooi Guan (2012). Leo Suryadinata (ed.). Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 634. ISBN 978-9814345217.
  11. Harold A. Crouch (1982). Malaysia's 1982 General Election. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 12. ISBN 978-9971902452.
  12. Ismail Kassim (1978). The Politics of Accommodation: An Analysis of the 1978 Malaysian General Election. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 58–59.
  13. Harold A. Crouch (1982). Malaysia's 1982 General Election. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 9–11. ISBN 978-9971902452.
  14. Neil Jin Keong Khor, Kay Peng Khoo (2008). Non-sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia. Trafalgar Publishing House. pp. 84, 90.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. Harold A. Crouch (1982). Malaysia's 1982 General Election. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 50. ISBN 978-9971902452.
  16. Sankaran Ramanathan; Mohd. Hamdan Adnan (1990). Malaysia's 1986 General Election: The Urban-rural Dichotomy. p. 29. ISBN 978-9813035126.
  17. Sankaran Ramanathan; Mohd. Hamdan Adnan (1990). Malaysia's 1986 General Election: The Urban-rural Dichotomy. p. 58. ISBN 978-9813035126.
  18. Peter James Rimmer; Howard W. Dick (2009). The City in Southeast Asia: Patterns, Processes and Policy. Univ of Hawaii Pr. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0824833138.
  19. "Sdr Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (President from 2007 to 2013)". Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia.
  20. Malte Kaßner (2014). he Influence of the Type of Dominant Party on Democracy: A Comparison Between South Africa and Malaysia. Springer VS. pp. 106–108. ISBN 978-3658044374.
  21. Dharmender Singh; Chritina Tan (29 May 2008). "Gerakan's Tan 'joins' Pakatan". The Star.
  22. "Will a party rejuvenation program save Gerakan from its impending doom?". Rakyat Post. 29 October 2013.
  23. "Gerakan still has a role to play: Koh". The Sun Daily. 26 May 2008.
  24. "Gerakan Matters". Gerakan.
  25. L. Suganya; D. Kanyakumari (26 October 2013). "Gerakan: Mah Siew Keong is the new party president". The Star.
  26. "Do more to win people over, Najib urges Gerakan". The Malay Mail. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  27. "Former Presidents". Retrieved 2 April 2018.


  • Chin, James (2006) New Chinese Leadership in Malaysia: The Contest for the MCA and Gerakan Presidency Contemporary Southeast Asia (CSEA), Vol. 28, No. 1 (April 2006).
  • Goh, Cheng Teik (1994). Malaysia: Beyond Communal Politics. Pelanduk Publications. ISBN 967-978-475-4.
  • Pillai, M.G.G. (3 November 2005). "National Front parties were not formed to fight for Malaysian independence". Malaysia Today.
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