By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Sarawak is abuzz with rumours that the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) is pulling out of the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Rumours began swirling last week following a secret meeting among SUPP’s top leaders and elected representatives in Kuala Lumpur.
The rendezvous was to have been a prelude to a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak from whom SUPP is seeking help to settle problems affecting the party, one of which is that the party and the Chinese community have been ignored, bullied or marginalized allegedly by Chief Minister Abdul Taib’s government (fitnah oleh SUPP yang telah menjadi 'pak untung' paling besar selama hampir 30 tahun tetapi sekarang cuba untuk melimpahkan semua salah mereka kepada Pehin Sri).
But SUPP leaders however failed to meet with the Prime Minister. Another meeting is expected to be attempted soon.
It is understood that during the KL meeting each one of the leaders, including ministers and deputy and assistant ministers, were asked to sign an undertaking to “sink and swim” with the party with whatever decision the leadership makes.
A few of them, including one minister, refused to sign the undertaking and this has prompted many to think that the oldest party in Sarawak is facing a major split.
“This is the worst crisis that the 50-year old party is facing,” said a party leader who was among those present at the meeting.
Right signals from members
Meanwhile, SUPP grassroots leaders and members are keen on the party pulling out of BN
Most have sent signals to the party leadership urging them to pull out of the state BN, but to maintain a status quo at the federal level.
“We have a precedent to follow,” they said, referring to the time in 1987 when Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak was a member of the federal coalition, but an opposition at the state level.
“SUPP has become a toothless tiger in the state (toothless? kaum manakah yang telah meraih keuntungan terbanyak di Sarawak selam lebih 25 tahun?),” they said, pointing out that the party is expected to do badly in the coming state election if nothing is done to arrest the problem between the party and Taib (SUPP is belatedly are creating/starting the problem to shift balme of their own faults).
SUPP has blamed its failures in 2006 state election - where it lost eight seats and the loss of the Sibu by-election in May this year - solely on Taib (on what grounds?).
In order to win back the Chinese support, SUPP wants to be given the “full authority” ( quote unquote more power - whiche they neither desreve nor have earned) to give assistance to the Chinese in terms of business opportunities (economic statistics show that the Chinese in Sarawak have made double or triple whatever the bumiputeras have mad for the past 25 years), Chinese education, scholarships and places in universities.
So far Taib has not responded to the demands made by the party.
SUPP joined the Sarawak coalition government under Taib’s uncle Abdul Rahman Yakub in 1970 and later the state BN government.