Time to bury hatchet with SUPP, splinter party UPP says

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KUCHING, May 13 — Archrivals United People’s Party (UPP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) must find a common ground to work together in the interest of the Chinese community, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said today.

The UPP president said the time has come for both of them to search for consensus and act in unison, claiming the two parties are forces to be reckoned with.

“Going separately or going against each other will do nobody any good, particularly for the Chinese community in Sarawak,” he said at the opening of UPP’s extraordinary delegates conference here.

Wong, who is also the state international trade and e-commerce minister, formed UPP in 2014 after a faction he led left SUPP following a leadership tussle.

Although UPP is not a Barisan Nasional component party, Wong and deputy president Datuk Jerip Susil are part of the state government.

Wong said his call to SUPP followed repeated reminders by Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg for the two parties to reconcile.

He said ethnic Chinese community leaders have also shown great concern and have been trying to play mediatory role in bringing both parties together.

“It is hoped that when the time comes, I will update you of the outcome of that concensus and how both parties should work together for a greater unity,” he told the delegates from 25 UPP branches.

Wong, who is also the state’s second minister of finance, said the need for UPP and SUPP to work together is more urgent now than before in view of the upcoming general elections.

He said in the 2013 elections, the state Barisan Nasional lost “quite badly” the Chinese-majority seats of Kuching, Stampin, Sibu, Lanang, Sarikei and Miri to the Opposition.

“And if we want to set ourselves the goal of recapturing some, if not all, of the seats we lost, both parties must immediately work together assessing each other’s strength in each of the constituencies to identify the correct and winnable candidates to represent the Chinese community.

“Only then, can we assure greater Chinese unity and greater Chinese representation in the federal and state governments,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

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