KUCHING: The time is not right for a non-Chinese to lead Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).
In saying this, SUPP Bengoh chairman Dr Jerip Susil yesterday added having a non-Chinese to lead SUPP would not help to strengthen the party and the Chinese community in general, given its present situation.
“We have to stick to the fact and bear in mind that SUPP is a Chinese majority party, so we must look at that sentiment.
“And for that reason, we have to do justice to the race (Chinese) and let a Chinese lead the party,” Dr Jerip said when contacted.
The Assistant Minister of Public Health pointed out that the party had not come to a stage where the leader could be a Chinese, Iban or Bidayuh and where the party could work as an entity regardless of race.
He opined that a non-Chinese becoming the leader would not be in the “best interest to unite the Chinese community and strengthen the party.”
The Bengoh assemblyman also rejected a call for the Bumiputera elected representatives in the party to return to the fold.
He asserted that he himself and other elected representatives – Ranum Mina (Opar), Datuk Lee Kim Shin (Senadin), Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) and Datuk Francis Harden (Simanggang) – have never left the party.
“Any call for us to return to the party is misleading and misguided to some extent because we never left the party.
“Our absence from the CWC (central working committee) meetings was because Registrar of Societies (ROS) had not made any official statement about the irregularities in the last triennial delegates conference (TDC),” he said.
On our part, the party still functioned at branch levels, he added.
SUPP lost six of the seven parliamentary seats it contested in the just concluded general election.
The sole winner was its deputy president Datuk Richard Riot Jaem who retained Serian for the sixth consecutive term.
The party lost in Stampin, Bandar Kuching, Lanang, Sibu and Sarikei to Democratic Action Party (DAP), while Miri to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).-theborneopost