KUCHING: UPP, the splinter party of SUPP, has passed a party resolution to apply to join Barisan Nasional officially.
Its secretary-general George Lo said he and party president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh met Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Monday to convey the party’s intention.
“Adenan said we are welcomed to submit (the application) but it would be considered in accordance to Barisan’s constitution,” Lo told a press conference here on Tuesday after a Central Committee meeting.
Lo added Adenan assured them UPP was still considered friendly to Barisan.
“We asked him to affirm that UPP is still a Barisan Plus party, and the CM said, surely that cannot be disputed since Wong is a full minister in his Cabinet.”
The Barisan Plus refers to Barisan “plus” friendly parties, a term the state coalition first used in the 1980s when infighting among component parties led to splinter groups.
The state of Sarawak’s Barisan, which officially has four parties, remains fluid and may most likely be confusing to outsiders.
Wong was reappointed as Second Finance Minister in Adenan’s new Cabinet following the May 7 Sarawak state election. However, Wong lost the Local Government Ministry to SUPP’s president Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is a newbie.
UPP currently has just two state assemblymen - Wong (Bawang Assan) and Datuk Tiong Thai King (Dudong), both in Sibu - after three bumiputra elected representatives quit the offshoot party with the intention to join PBB.
Also applying to join PBB are six other partyless elected representatives, three of whom were from Teras, the splinter group of SPDP.
In the 82-seat Sarawak Legislative Assembly, PBB holds 40 (not including the nine partyless applicants), PRS 11, SUPP, seven, and SPDP, three. Opposition parties DAP hold seven seats, while PKR has three.
So far, the Chief Minister has refrained from making comments on Barisan’s membership issues. During the recent Assembly sitting, his message to elected representatives was, “Get on with the job”.
Last week, SWP, which does not have any elected representatives, also applied to join Barisan. The party was formed by ex-PRS members after a falling out. SWP briefly also considered joining the Opposition Pakatan Harapan last year.
In a related matter, UPP’s Lo said the Central Committee had also passed a resolution calling on Adenan to ensure fair appointment of councillors and community leaders.
The appointment of those positions are now under SUPP’s Dr Sim with the Local Government portfolio in his hands.
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