KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Dr Sim Kui Hian has reiterated that Barisan Nasional (BN) components, such as SUPP, have the right of way to contest any vacant seat over that of any BN-friendly party.
Sim also affirmed that the party remained open to receiving back leaders and members from the splinter group, United People’s Party (UPP).
“I have said this repeatedly and I would like to invite, for the sake of Chinese unity, all the UPP members to come back,” Sim told reporters at the Sarawak Turf Club on Sunday.
“In fact, I also would like to invite as many (leaders) of the Chinese community to join us in SUPP because we are in a transformation process and I need many hands to make sure that in the not too far future, when I leave, there is a succession of younger people who are ready to take over,” he said.
In an audio recording obtained by FMT, Sim said collaboration with UPP must result in some form of merger and not just competing for seats.
Pujut was left vacant after DAP assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon was summarily dismissed from the Sarawak assembly on the back of a motion tabled by UPP leader Wong Soon Koh.
“I said again and again I invite them to come back. But the thing is, if you just set collaboration in terms of sharing seats, then it’s not called unity.
“DAP wants to ‘share’ with you also, by winning the seats. Some other august party also wants to share the seat by competing with (SUPP),” Sim said.
“So under the Barisan Nasional principle, only Barisan Nasional component parties can contest the seats. We collaborate and we work with other Barisan Nasional component parties. That is the basic principle of BN until today.”
UPP broke off from SUPP in 2014 after Wong was sacked following infighting. Wong left with three assemblymen to form UPP, a BN-friendly party.
SUPP’s woes began when the faction headed by Wong lodged complaints with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) alleging irregularities in 14 branch elections and refused to recognise former SUPP president Peter Chin Fah Kui’s leadership.
RoS had issued the party a show cause letter in January 2014 to provide reasons the party should not be deregistered and had deregistered SUPP’s Piasau and Bekenu branches due to irregularities raised by UPP’s faction in the branch elections before the main party polls in December 2011.
Bekenu was headed by Chin while Piasau was headed by the party’s information chief and Chin’s political secretary Sebastian Ting. Sebastian was nominated to defend SUPP’s Miri parliamentary seat but lost to PKR’s Michael Teoh in the 2013 general election.
By then SUPP was left with one parliamentarian and two state seats, before recovering five additional state seats in the state election last May.
At UPP’s extraordinary delegates conference on Saturday, Wong called for “unity” and “collaboration” but stopped short of any talk of merger.
Last Friday, Wong successfully filed an unprecedented motion at the Sarawak assembly to dismiss DAP’s Ting for once having Australian citizenship.
The overwhelming BN majority then voted in favour of the motion and Ting lost his Pujut seat.
Source: Free Malaysia Today