By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Dayaks who form about 30% of Sarawak United People’s Party membership ( but only 15% of its government postions) will not support the decision of the party to leave the Barisan Nasional, as they need development projects from the BN government (they have been neglected by their dominant chinese SUPP leaders).
“This is an indication given to me,” said Jerip Susil, chairman of SUPP Bengoh branch.
“The Bidayuhs (a Dayak ethnic group) who form the majority of the 6,000 members in Bengoh still want to remain in the BN because they still require development,” he said, when asked to comment on the party’s dilemma whether to pull out of the Barisan.
“For me, I cannot make any comment as I was not invited to attend the secret meeting in Kuala Lumpur last week (pointedly exposing that only chinese SUPP leaders were asked to go). So for the time being, I have no comment,” said Jerip, who is Bengoh state assemblyman.
Besides Jerip, two other elected representatives who did not attend the meeting were David Teng, state assemblyman for Repok, and Ranom Mina, state assemblyman for Opar.
Jerip was in the spotlight recently when he was strongly recommended by his branch members and the Bidayuh community to be the chairman of the Padawan Municipal Council.
The failure of his party to appoint him as chairman of the council led to 14 SUPP Bengoh branch officials resigning from the party.
Since then relationship between Jerip and party leaders has deteriorated.
Meanwhile, Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian has appealed to those who do not support SUPP any more to support Pakatan Rakyat if they wish to see a change of government.
“There is no point supporting SUPP any more as the party is becoming irrelevant, so I appeal to you to give your support to Pakatan.
“This is the time for all of us to make a total change in the state,” Bian said when commenting on the “turmoil” in SUPP.
“One thing I can tell you is that the people are not with SUPP any more,” he said, calling on all those who have become disillusioned with the party to back Pakatan.
Tian Chua, head of PKR strategy bureau, who was present at the press conference, said that he did not believe SUPP was serious in pulling out of the BN.
“I don’t think they have the courage, and if they do they would have pulled out 10 years ago (because for nearly 30 years they have benefiting greatly economically and politically by being in BN). Why do they want to pull out now when the party has been reduced in strength (its called selfish and ungrateful)?” he asked.
“SUPP is using Pakatan as its bargaining power, but I can tell you that Pakatan is not going to be a tool of any BN component party.
“We have our own agenda and that is to change Sarawak,” he said.
Blue font text are comments by mudatengah