UPP ready to bury hatchet

UPP president says his party willing to work with SUPP for Chinese community’s sake

Wong (front, eighth right) – flanked by Dr Jerip on his left and Lo – with Tiong (fifth left), Ranum (sixth left), Rayong (sixth right), Hu (fifth right) and other UPP members in a group photo at KTS Garden.

KUCHING: It is time for United People’s Party (UPP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) to seek reconciliation, act in unison and join forces to reclaim the Chinese-majority seats in the next general election (GE14).

Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, who is UPP president, stressed that the Chinese cannot afford to be left out under the Barisan Nasional (BN) government because having greater Chinese representation at both state and federal levels is critical for them to move forward with other communities in the country.

“Going separately or going against each other will do nobody any good, particularly the Chinese community in Sarawak.

“As such, we in UPP are ready to heed the repeated calls by Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg for the two parties to come together and find a common ground to work together,” he told a press conference after the UPP Extraordinary Delegates Conference 2017 at KTS Garden here yesterday.

The conference was attended by UPP deputy president, Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil; its Youth Central chief Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa; senior vice president Datuk Ranum Mina; its secretary-general George Lo, treasurer Peter Hu, UPP Dudong chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King as well as other branch leaders and members.

“As we all know, the parliamentary election is not far away. The previous election results in the Chinese-majority constituencies were not something that we could feel proud about. We lost them all,” said Wong, referring to six predominantly-Chinese parliamentary constituencies namely Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sibu, Lanang, Sarikei and Miri.

Accepting the fact that both UPP and SUPP would want to have some share of these parliamentary seats, Wong said both parties thus need to work together immediately towards building a stronger and more united Chinese community.

“If we want to recapture some – if not all – of the seats that we lost, we need to work together in assessing each other’s strength in each of the constituencies, to identify the correct and winnable candidates to represent the Chinese community,” he said.

On factors contributing to the defeat, Wong explained there was a combination of them including weaknesses and shortcomings that must be overcome.

“Perhaps, (it has) not so much to do with the strength of the opposition. In general, the Chinese are more individualistic in nature; we need to seek for a common ground, a solution to this,” he added.

However, Wong said more importantly in this critical time, only the combined forces of both parties could ensure victory for the seats that they lost in the last general election.

“We must come to our realisation that UPP and SUPP are forces to be reckoned with. One side cannot ignore the other,” he said.

Grateful for the great concern shown by various quarters including Chinese community leaders, former SUPP leaders as well as BN component party leaders who played mediatory role in bringing both parties together, Wong expressed UPP’s readiness in taking the step forward.

On whether the two parties had informally met over the matter, he said: “I would only make it known when there are positive or definite outcome.”

On the readiness to face the general election, Wong said UPP is set for the next battle but has yet to decide on potential candidates.

Source: The Borneo Post

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