Saturday, August 20

Najib: I want a strong, respected SUPP


WORDS OF WISDOM: Najib giving his speech during the opening of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) TDC. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday that “SUPP is far from over”, but he would not want to interfere with its internal squabbles which were sparked by its presidential race.

The prime minister said his only desire was to see “a strong and respected SUPP” in the eyes of the public.

“Despite SUPP facing its biggest test in its triennial delegates’ conference (TDC), I, as BN chairman, (view) the situation of every component party as very important to me.

I am also here because Sarawak is very important to the BN.

“The necessary thing that SUPP have to do now is to re-establish the trust, the bond, and the confidence of the people towards the party.

“In this regards, SUPP needs to re-think its strategies and re-look at its current image with the intention of improving it.

“It also needs to revamp the party machinery with the intention of strengthening it. In short, change what needs changing in order to make the party the choice of Sarawakians again,” he advised at the opening of SUPP’s 22nd TDC at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

Highlighting the importance for the state’s oldest political party to implement measures to regain the confidence and support of the Chinese community, he stressed that SUPP must also pay greater attention to its Bumiputera members.

“The most important thing that SUPP needs to do now is to rebuild the confidence of the people and voters of Sarawak, considering that in the April state polls SUPP only managed to win six out of the 19 seat that it contested.

“I believe that we can win the trust of the urban voters if we work hard at it, if we put the interest of the party above all other interests. It must be the primacy of the party and not the primacy of our own interest. Of course, if we are willing to listen to the people.”

Najib told those present that “the era that government knows best is over” and “you must feel the pulse of the people”.

As a political party operating in a parliamentary democracy, Najib said all BN parties must realise that if they did not adapt themselves to the wishes of the people and did not change, “they will be changed instead”.

“The litmus test for any political party is at the ballot box during election. You can give all kinds of passionate speeches during party conference and promise all kinds of changes that you are willing to make, but, at the end of the day, the ultimate test would be whether all these are good enough to convince the people to vote for you.”

Touching on the election of SUPP’s new Central Working Committee (CWC) today, Najib urged everybody to close ranks after the dust has settled.

“Our enemy is in fact the opposition, and not fellow SUPP members.”

He advised members and party leaders to be magnanimous, adopt a more consolidatory approach, and be all inclusive in every action.

Highlighting a football philosophy to further illustrate unity, Najib said “a team that plays together and stays together would win the match”.

He also advised SUPP members to understand the philosophy of rugby which states “when you get the ball, you must keep the ball until you cross the line”.

“SUPP is an old party that must be re-energised. SUPP is far from over.”

Also present were Minister of Housing Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who represented the chief minister, SUPP outgoing president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, presidential aspirant Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sim Kheng Hui, SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan, and state BN secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi.

Other notable attendees were vice president Datuk Yong Khoon Seng and CWC member Datuk Richard Riot.