Ex-Gerakan leader Dr. Toh Kin Woon shares why he could no longer be in Gerakan after declaring his support for former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is PKR candidate for Permatang Pauh.
I will not paraphrase his words, it’s best you listen to him.
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I caught up with Dr. Toh, and wanted to congratulate him for taking a stand against BN/UMNO, something which I always knew he would do. Hey, call me clairvoyant.
As a ‘socialist’ at heart (that’s what his friends say about him), and a staunch Catholic (strong sense of social justice), I wondered how he had tolerated his stay in Gerakan which kowtows to UMNO, putting aside the party’s multi-racial beliefs.
Everytime I meet him at talks or in Church (Holy Spirit, Penang), the first thing that crossed my mind was: When?
The “When” happened two days ago.
Toh had spoken out many times against BN policies (for example, consistently criticising the use of the Internal Security Act), but his straight forwardness was an opportunity for the party to show off its tolerant disposition.
We often applauded him for his courage.
I know they sometimes tick him off behind closed doors. How long could he take that? I am sure he was also prepared for the consequences of his out-spokeness.
He was the “conscience of BN”, yes. But even that ‘conscience’ could not tolerate UMNO’s ultra racism anymore.
I believe the Anwar Ibrahim factor was just a catalyst for his decision. A decision which he had actually made long ago, perhaps he was just waiting for the right time. But for the longest time, he stayed in Gerakan, and slowly drifted into oblivion.
Then came Permatang Pauh.
He did stressed that he does not support Anwar personally but supports his agenda for change, which the latter continues to propagate.
So meeting him in Penang recently was bonus for me. In fact I remarked that he looked years younger after he stepped out of Barisan Nasional.
We exchanged cards and he says we will meet up when he is next in Bangkok. “It’s not easy to find a Catholic Church there,” he said.
I told him I knew of a nice Catholic Church in Ploenchit: The Holy Redeemer.
I hope to see him there one day.