SOMETIMES it is easy to forget that the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) is actually supposed to be a multiracial party. Yes, multiracial and not just a party for the Chinese community.
You’d think this would be easy to remember because of the party’s name — Sarawak United Peoples’ Party.
Among the party’s founding members are names such as: Abang Dris bin Sanaun, Penghulu Blaja, Permancha Salau, Francis M. Umpi Rantai, Permancha Durin, Wan Mohdzar bin Tuanku Mahmud, William Hardin, Vincent Gerrard Bandong, Jonathan Bangau ak Renang, and Charles Linang.
It is easy to forget this because somewhere along the way, the party lost its multiracial focus and concentrated more on the needs of the Chinese community. Not that I have anything against the party working for the Chinese community.
However, let us not forget that in the last state election, four out of the six SUPP candidates who actually won their seats are Bumiputera.
If not for Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang), Dr Jerip Susil (Bengoh), Ranum Mina (Opar) and Dr Johnical Rayong (Engkilili), SUPP would sadly have been virtually wiped out.
So with the Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) just about a month away, the party really needs to do some soul-searching.
“The Dayaks feel that it is actually time for them to remember their contribution which are significant in terms of support towards the party, Barisan Nasional and its candidates,” said Dr Jerip recently.
The Bumiputera community has shown its loyalty to SUPP.
How will SUPP show its loyalty to the Bumiputera community?
“I think the intention of keeping SUPP a multi-racial party still remains. But as time went by, the philosophy of their founding fathers were forgotten. And if they have forgotten, it’s time for them to remember again,” added Dr Jerip.
How true. SUPP, it’s time for you to remember again the philosophy of your found fathers. Make sure that you are truly a united peoples’ party for Sarawak.
Dr Jerip: Dayaks not sidelined, but role must be recognised
By Lim How Pim
KUCHING: As a SUPP Dayak leader Dr Jerip Susil believes that his community has not been sidelined despite the fact he did feel a little disconnected when he first joined the party in 2001.
The Assistant Minister of Public Health asserted that the Dayaks had to be able to work closely with people around them for the betterment of the state and the country as a whole.
“The Dayaks feel that it is actually time for them to remember their contribution which are significant in terms of support towards the party, Barisan Nasional and its candidates.
“I won’t say they have been sidelined. I think the intention of keeping SUPP a multi-racial party still remains. But as time went by, the philosophy of their founding fathers were forgotten. And if they have forgotten, it’s time for them to remember again,” he told reporters here yesterday.
He was asked to comment whether the Dayak elected representatives and members of the SUPP had not been given attention all this while.
Dr Jerip, who is Bengoh assemblyman and SUPP Bengoh chairman, admitted that the minor parts of the Dayak’s contribution had “slowly faded away in the picture” as time passed.
“I think this is what’s happening now that four of our six (are Dayak assemblymen) and they have become uneasy. Back then, they have not learned to work with the Dayak components.
“I have no idea when it started. But of course when I came in (joined SUPP) 2011, I sensed it already. But we have to learn to adapt, learn to work with multi-racial components,” he said.
Of the six elected representatives of SUPP, four are Dayaks namely Dr Jerip, Francis Harden Hollis (Assistant Minister of Housing and Simanggang assemblyman), Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili assemblyman) and Ranum Mina (Opar assemblyman).
“To us, it is not a question that we have been sidelined but whether we are able to work with those around us. Sometimes they may not be able to work with us but that is not the issue.
“It is more important to ask – are we able to work with them? If they can’t work with us, we try to work with them again and see what happens in the end,” added Dr Jerip.