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KUCHING, Sept 8: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today explained that all he has wanted is for Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) to reconcile.
“When I took over as Chief Minister, I continued with this policy where Dato Sri Wong was retained as a minister. All these were meant to give time for the two factions to be reconciled.
“Unfortunately, intentionally or otherwise, PSB leadership roped in members of the component parties of GPS knowing fully well that this would jeopardise the teamwork in GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak). GPS has a policy of ‘you touch one, you touch all’ and PSB’s action is against our effort to unite Sarawakians.
“…Based on the latest activities of PSB, it is evident that the party is no more interested in cooperation and now in the frolic of its own against GPS with further inclusion of disgruntled members of other parties,” Abang Johari said in a statement issued here today.
He asserted that he even requested leaders of the community as well as corporate leaders to help in the reconciliation but to no avail.
“And the rest I would leave it to the public to judge,” he said.
Abang Johari, who is also GPS chairman and PBB president, was commenting on a recent remark of Wong who alleged that Abang Johari played an important part in the formation of United People Party (UPP) which was the former name of PSB.
Wong also protested against Abang Johari recent comment during PBB Miri Convention that PSB was made up of disgruntled politicians though Abang Johari did talk about a party made up of disgruntled politicians but he did not name the party.
“It seems that Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari has forgotten the history of PSB, of which he is so much a part. He in fact played an important role in the formation of UPP (United People’s Party, which PSB is formerly known as),” Wong said in a statement yesterday.
Abang Johari’s statement today, was to set the record straight.
“With regard to the statement by YB Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh yesterday, I wish to put the record straight that my policy has always been one of reconciliation ever since SUPP was faced with factional problem.
“After the state elections of 2011, SUPP had a leadership crisis resulting in the split of SUPP into two factions.
The BN leadership then decided that the problem in SUPP should be solved amicably by the disputing factions in the party as it was not the policy of the state ruling coalition which was then still Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) to interfere with the internal problems of component parties.
“Dato Sri Wong and his group were sacked by SUPP but he was retained in the government as the leadership wanted inclusivity and unity among the Chinese and participate in the government. The problem dragged on until the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem took over as Chief Minister,” said Abang Johari.
Abang Johari pointed out the fact that in the last general elections Wong’s group was allowed to use the BN symbol spoke volumes of the desire of the State leadership to continue with the effort to unite the Chinese and enable them to participate in the government.
He said SUPP was almost deregistered after Wong was sacked by the party, leading to Wong forming UPP. In order to accommodate UPP, the ruling coalition came up with the idea of BN-Plus with the hope that the two factions could work together for the good of the Chinese community.
“And in fact, the late Pehin Sri Adenan directed me to officiate at the launching of UPP. Later, I officiated at the change of name from UPP to PSB,” he added. — DayakDaily