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Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Sarawak Politics, Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), Sarawakian

SUPP – change the party must


SARAWAK United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) President Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan repeated on Sunday the need for the party to change with the times.

He’s said this before after the party’s great loss during the April State elections. This latest call for change came during SUPP Bintulu’s 50th Anniversary Dinner.

“We must listen to the people … and we must realise that times have changed. Voters want to know that their voices are heard.

“We need to change the way we do things. For instance, some of the things we did previously may not be known to the public, some of the things that we have fought for may not be known. When the public doesn’t know about it, they will say we have not done our best,” he is quoted as saying in a story in the Borneo Post.

What does this mean for SUPP?

I cannot offer solutions for the party’s internal problems, but to begin with SUPP really needs to make use of the Internet effectively. During the last elections, although he did not win the seat, Dr Sim Kui Hian had a very effective Internet campaign. Sadly it started a bit late, but it was effective in getting the message out there.

The opposition has been excellent at using the Internet. You may not agree with their methods, but they get the message out there. They reach out to people through various channels and receive feedback as well.

Whenever the opposition does something – no matter how small – they insist on calling a press conference about it and tooting their own horn. They are seen to be doing things. They do this consistently, long before the elections.

If you look at SUPP’s website it still shows the list of candidates for the April elections. In fact if you go to the English section, the so-called Focus News is of Dr Chan’s message in November 2010. Go to the Central Page and it is on the BN election workshop in August 2010. Go to the Southern Region, Middle Region and Northern Region and they are all posts from 2010.

What is going on here? It would seem from the website that the party is still stuck in 2010. I don’t know if the Chinese section has been updated but SUPP needs to remember that many non-Chinese voters – and even some Chinese voters – do not read Chinese. If they are just updating one section of their website, they are limiting their message to a whole group of potential voters.

We’re nearly at the end of 2011. If SUPP wants to stay relevant to the people, it needs to get its message out there. It needs to utilise the Internet to reach out to the many young voters who are finding answers elsewhere.



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