Wilting SUPP searching for unity within

By Joseph Tawie, FMT

KUCHING: An ailing and deeply divided Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) has made a desperate call to its party leaders to ‘urgently’ carry out the restructing process in the party and win back the people’s support.

“We must create a new image for the party based on the inspirations and needs of the people. We must rise again,” said the party’s deputy secretary-general Wong Soon Koh.

“The restructuring must involve significant improvement in administration, including a complete system that could shape the party’s organisation.

“We must promptly pump in new blood to give the party a new look.”

Wong was speaking at a SUPP roadshow in Sibu on the weekend. Sibu is the first of a series of road shows to be carried in the state before the party’s triennial delegates conference (TDC) in December this year.

The TDC is expected to elect new leaders after the current leaders, who claimed responsibility for the party’s poor performances in the April 16 state elections, step down.

SUPP lost 13 of its 19 seats to opposition DAP in the polls.

SUPP president George Chan, who was leading the road show, was however not very happy with the absence of three principal figures of the party.

For some unknown reasons the three key leaders Sim Kheng Hui (secretary-general), David Teng (treasurer-general) and Alfred Yap (publicity and information secretary) did not turn up for the dialogue with Siburians.

Angry Chan

Asked by reporters why they were absent, Chan retorted: “Go and ask them yourself. I don’t know why they did not come for the dialogue.”

Their absence has triggered speculation of an ever deepening dissent in the party. They are believed to be at logger-heads with Chan.

It was learnt that Chan had earlier demanded that all the leaders whom he described as ‘old guards’ resign and give way to new blood and this included the trio.

He said that they should leave together with him at the TDC.

“Now we should leave the party to new and young people who can work together without thinking of racialism, regionalism and of being clannish,” Chan said.

But certain quarters including 28 branch chairmen do not agree with Chan.

They have laid the blame for the party’s poor performances in the state election solely on the president.

“Chan, being the president, should have the courage to claim responsibility for the party’s blunders. He cannot drag other leaders to step down with him.

“Instead we want David Teng to take over the leadership,” said a leader aligned to Teng.

No big deal

Meanwhile Sarawak DAP is unperturbed by SUPP’s effort to redeem itself through the statewide roadshow.