PETALING JAYA: Three partyless Barisan Nasional assemblymen have opted to return to their former party UPP, a pro-Barisan Nasional splinter party, after previously applying to join PBB.
The trio, Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina, Engkilili assemblyman Dr Johnical Rayong and Mambong assemblyman Dr Jerip Susil, quit UPP earlier to stand as direct BN candidates in the last state election on May 7.
After winning in the election, the trio had initially applied to join Sarawak BN lynchpin PBB, but were told to consult their constituents first.
Their applications were also pending due to objections from other component parties, who felt PBB should not have more than 41 representatives in the 71-seat state assembly.
Since last week, the Borneo Post Online said, the UPP branches of Opar, Engkilili and Mambong had called on their respective assemblymen to return to the party and the assemblymen had heeded their call.
According to the report, UPP Bumiputera Committee chairman Andrew Shilling welcomed the return of the Bumiputera trio back into the party’s fold.
“Out of the 35,000 UPP members, 40 per cent are Bumiputera. Bumiputera leaders have a very significant place in the party. Bumiputera members of the party need their leadership, especially their own branches.
“It was right for these three leaders to heed the call of their branch members and make the instant decision to return to the party,” he said, adding UPP was now reunited and would go on to greater heights.
With the trio’s return, UPP now has an additional post within the state administration, as Jerip is the Assistant Minister of Public Health.
At present, UPP president Wong Soon Koh is the Second Finance Minister, while Dudong assemblyman Tiong Thai King is chairman of the Sibu Municipal Council.