SUPP-UPP impasse: GE14 candidate selection up to state BN, says DPM

Ahmad Zahid (second left) inspects the guard before chairing a meeting at the state police headquarters in Kuching.

KUCHING, March 4: The selection of candidates for the upcoming general election (GE14) will be left entirely up to the state Barisan Nasional (BN) while the central BN will help on the sidelines.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this is so long as the state BN can achieve the best results in GE14.

Responding to a question on the position of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) and its splinter party United People’s Party (UPP), Ahmad Zahid told a press conference here today that a formal and informal understanding between both parties have been established and that both parties would be working together in the coming GE.

“Although the initial intention was for both parties to merge together or not, either way they must support each other — be it the SUPP candidate under the BN flag, or the UPP candidate under the BN flag.

“However this (candidacy) will be entirely up to the Sarawak BN to decide. Only the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also state BN chairman) and SUPP president (Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian) have the answer to that,” Ahmad Zahid told reporters after chairing a meeting with the Royal Malaysia Police at the state police headquarters here today.

Ahmad Zahid (right) speaks at a press conference while Abang Johari (centre) and Dr Sim look on at the state police headquarters in Kuching.

In relation to that, the DPM also said that Sarawak has set an example for other states in Malaysia on how to deal with the negative perception of politics among Chinese voters.

Admitting that BN’s performance during the last two general election was not up to expectation due to this factor among the Chinese voters in the Peninsula, he said the opposition had always use negative perception politics as a last resort which had easily influenced the Chinese voters.

“Therefore I think our (BN) next approach for the coming GE should be to improve its perception politics management by means of non-conventional communications methodology.

“Under the leadership of Abang Johari, I believe Sarawak has done very well in this (perception politics management) which is an example for other states. I hope the Chinese voters can open up their minds and realise the reality instead of perception, such as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will use as BN’s main agenda for GE14,” said Ahmad Zahid.

Following the press conference, Ahmad Zahid (third left) visited Dr Sim’s (second left) residence here for a Chap Goh Mei luncheon. Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri James Jemut Masing (left ) and Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang (third right) were also present.

He also voiced concerns over the snowball effect which can blow minor issues out of proportion, particularly issues concerning race and religion.

Citing the recent apostasy jurisdiction hearing incident where a group of people verbally attacked Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Most Reverend Father Simon Poh after a court session, he said this was caused by a snowball effect born of hate culture.

“Although we have political, racial or religious differences, these issues should not arise in the first place. Law alone is not enough to enforce tolerance and respect among each other. It has to be cultivated. If the hate is cultivated, then the end result would be the hatred culture just to achieve short-term results.

“We must understand that the unity within the multi-racial and multi-religious society in Malaysia should not just be rhetoric. It must be practised with full commitment if we want to achieve long-term results.

“Here I must say I am impressed with how Sarawak dealt with this issue,” he said, referring to Abang Johari’s statement yesterday to amend the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 to address administrative complications faced by those converting out of Islam. — DayakDaily