KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived for the opening of the SUPP triennial delegates’ conference (TDC) here with the hope that the party will bounce back from its downward spiral.
Fully aware of the problems besetting the party, the Barisan Nasional chairman also hoped to see that there would be reconciliation between the factions in the party after the TDC.
Najib said he came to open the TDC although SUPP was going through a testing time in its election for a new president because, as the Barisan chairman, each component party’s state of affairs was important to him.
He said he was also here because Sarawak was important to Barisan.
“I have no other reason or purpose for coming here, much less to interfere in the internal affairs of a component party. I just want to see SUPP become strong again and respected by the people of Sarawak,” he said.
He said SUPP needed to rethink its strategies and improve its image in order to regain the trust of the people.
He said it was important for SUPP to win back the confidence of voters and the people, particularly in the context of its performance in last April’s state election when it won only six of 19 seats it contested.
“What is necessary for SUPP to do is to re-gain the trust and confidence of the people in the party.
“In this regard, you need to rethink your strategies and develop winning strategies. You need to re-look your image with a view to improve it and you need to revamp your party machinery in order to strengthen it.
In short, you need to change what needs changing to make SUPP the choice of the Sarawakian people again,” he said.
As such, he said it was important for SUPP to continue doing what it could to convince the people, especially the Chinese community, to give their support to the party.
Although Najib did not mention any names, he was clearly aware of the split in the party due to the tussle for the president’s post between organising secretary Datuk Seri Peter Chin and deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.
Wong and his supporters, including SUPP’s five other state assemblymen, stayed true to their word to boycott the TDC.
Najib called on party members to close ranks once the dust had settled after the TDC.
“The winner should not take all and the loser should not lose all, because the enemy is the Opposition. Be magnanimous, adopt a conciliatory approach and be inclusive in all your actions. If you do that, SUPP will emerge stronger and regain the confidence of the people,” he said.
The Prime Minister also said SUPP was an old party which must be reenergised.
“SUPP is far from over. It has many more years to go,” he said, adding that with the 13th general election looming, SUPP had to be ready for it.
Outgoing party president Tan Sri Dr George Chan later told reporters that the party would abide by the Prime Minister’s advice to seek reconciliation when the dust had settled.
He said Chin should talk with Wong’s group to see how they could patch up their differences. “I’m sure they don’t want to leave SUPP. They have differences, like any quarrel in a family. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you say all sorts of things you don’t mean.
“So I hope they will come back. For the sake of SUPP and Barisan, we have to be together because this is a very difficult time and there is no time to fight anymore,” he said.
Source : The Star