Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wong awaits ROS decision on SUPP before making next move

KUCHING: The answer to whether Senior Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh would lead his faction to form a new political party or join other existing Barisan Nasional (BN) parties would only be known once the fate of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) is sealed.

Wong, who is SUPP Sibu chairman and Bawang Assan assemblyman, indicated that he and five other SUPP state assemblymen were still waiting for the decision of the Registrar of Societies (ROS) before deciding on their next course of action.

The future of the state’s oldest political party is on the line following complaints lodged with ROS by several branches over allegations of irregularities during the run-up to the party’s triennial delegates conference here in December 2011. SUPP is 54 years old this year.

The allegations split the party into two – one faction led by Wong and the other by party president Tan Sri Peter Chin. ROS had recently sent show-cause letters to the party which it had replied, but thus far ROS had not announced its decision on the party’s explanation on why it should not be deregistered.

“We are waiting for ROS decision. Once a decision has been made, we will sit down and discuss our next move. When the time comes, we will make our decision whether to join any existing parties or form a new one. We haven’t decided on the matter,” Wong told reporters when met at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Ramah-Tamah Aidilfitri event at its headquarters here yesterday.

The five other state assemblymen linked to Wong are Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang), Datuk Lee Kim Shin (Senadin), Dr Jerip Susil (Bengoh), Ranum Mina (Opar) and Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili). Harden, Lee and Dr Jerip are assistant ministers.

Speculation arose among political pundits last week when news broke out that a new political party called United People’s Party (UPP) would be registered to replace SUPP in the event that the latter was de-registered by ROS.

If this holds true, the state’s political scene would relive an incident in 2004 when the registration of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) was approved by the ROS and duly accepted into the Barisan Nasional on the very day Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was de-registered.

Wong has dismissed talks that UPP is associated with his faction. Describing the linkage as “outrageous”, he said the talks were mere speculation and that he has no knowledge of them.

When asked on the approval of five new political parties in the state, he said: “Malaysia is a democratic country. Whoever wants to form a political party, if they meet all the requirements, ROS has no choice but to approve them.

“To approve five at one go, I think it is one too many. In Sarawak, it can become a little bit crowded but no harm about it. Let democracy be practised to the fullest extent.”

The five new political entities in the state are Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB), Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras), Parti Bumi Kenyalang, Peace Party and Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sarawak Bersatu (PERSB).- theborneopost

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