KUCHING: The United People’s Party (UPP) will support Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) led by chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, even if they are not part of the coalition.
UPP secretary-general George Lo said the party has yet to receive a formal invitation to join GPS and is not in a position to decide whether to join the newly-formed coalition.
“It would not be appropriate for us at this point in time without knowing the actual framework, structure and set up of GPS, to say whether we want to be in the coalition. If GPS were to send us an invitation, we will definitely bring this up with the central working committee to decide.
“However, we pledge full support to the administration of Abang Johari regardless as to whether the party is formally in GPS or not,” he told reporters at the chief minister’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on Friday (June 15).
Lo said the party has always been friendly with the Sarawak administration since Abang Johari’s predecessor, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
He added that the UPP has always been part of the state Cabinet and did not see why it should not support the GPS alliance, which is made up of Sarawak-based parties.
“UPP is having its triennial delegates conference on July 7. If we receive any invite before then, we will definitely put this up with our delegates at the conference," said Lo.
“At the moment as there is no invitation from GPS, we are not in a position to say whether we should be included or not,” he added.
Sarawak ruling parties, comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), pulled out of Barisan Nasional on Tuesday to form GPS.
Abang Johari made the announcement after a unanimous decision from the four component parties after much deliberation.
“Bear in mind that at this stage, GPS is not formally registered. They have indicated their intention to apply as a party under the Registrar of Societies. Once they are registered, we have to look at the structure and constitution in acceptance of new component members,” Lo said.
He was referring to UPP remaining a Barisan-friendly party after its application in the past to join the coalition was not met with approval from parent party SUPP, from which it split in 2014.
Under the state Barisan principles, the acceptance of a new member is subject to a consensus by component parties.
On Tuesday, SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said GPS welcomes applications from local-based parties that believe in Sarawak autonomy with strong interest and sincerity to fight for the state’s rights.