KUCHING: The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and United People’s Party (UPP), two Chinese dominant parties from Sarawak, today signed a Memorandum of Mutual Understanding to set aside any differences and focus their attention towards unity in the Barisan Nasional (BN) spirit.
Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, who witnessed the ceremony, congratulated both SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian, UPP president Wong Soon Koh and their respective teams for their willingness to sacrifice their interests for the sake of Sarawak and the country.
He said for the last few months, Chinese community leaders in Sarawak had expressed their desire for the two parties to explore means to unite as one entity in order to represent the interests of the Chinese and other communities, in order to develop the state.
“We must congratulate Sim and his team as well as Wong and his team, for agreeing to set aside whatever differences and to put extra effort for us to move Sarawak ahead,” he told reporters after witnessing the ceremony at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) headquarters here this evening.
UPP was formed by Wong in 2014 after internal bickering in SUPP. Despite declaring itself as a “BN-friendly party”, UPP has not been accepted into the BN fold as such a move needs the approval of all BN component parties.
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The last general election in 2013 saw SUPP lose six of the seven parliamentary seats it contested, and the party took another blow a few months later with Wong quitting the party.
Abang Johari, who is also the state BN Chairman and PBB president, said he informed Prime Minister Najib Razak about the signing ceremony when he met him in Putrajaya this morning, and he further conveyed the prime minister’s congratulatory message to both parties.
“I hope with the agreement, there will be less politicking, but more effort to jointly develop our state, it (unity) is also important in our negotiation with the federal government in getting back state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that have eroded,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of candidates from UPP contesting in the next general election (GE14) under BN, Abang Johari said while the party may have their candidates, they can only contest under a BN component party.
He said the matter will be decided later, and cited that even the list of PBB candidates for the election is yet to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, Sim said he was happy to see UPP respond to the call to unite the two “Chinese majority interests parties” for the sake of a united and stronger Sarawak.
He said most of UPP’s members were SUPP members who had contributed so much for the state and country, and it was time to work together in facing the next general election.