KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party's (SUPP) Engkilili branch chairman, Toh Heng San, has quit the party in protest against the admission of independent state assemblyman for Engkilili Johnichal Rayong into SUPP.Toh cited several reasons for his "difficult and painful decision”, including his belief that SUPP had beome “too submissive” to Party Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB).His resignation, which took immediate effect, is expected to be followed by scores of other members of the branch.“I hereby declare with grief that I resign my membership of SUPP with immediate effect.I am compelled to make this difficult and painful decision because the present political course of SUPP is not in the interest of the people of Sarawak due to the politics of hegemony of PBB.I have also said publicly that if Rayong becomes SUPP member, then I would resign as SUPP member,” Toh said in a statement faxed to FMT.

Toh joined SUPP in 1960 as a teenager and was among one of its earliest members. Immediately after joining SUPP, he joined a movement against colonialism and imperialism.As result, he was imprisoned for eight years.
“But I have no regrets because what I had done was for the better future of our children and children’s children,” he said.

Explaining his reason for quitting the party, Toh said: “Today’s SUPP is not the SUPP that I used to know. The present leadership does not practise anymore the political principle of ‘from the masses and back to the masses’.
“The party is ruled by one man alone. On many occasions, the party central leadership unilaterally over-ruled or completely ignored the decisions adopted by the special delegates conference (SDC), the delegates conference (DC), central committee (CC), and central working committee CWC),” he said.
Backing his claim with several examples, he said that in the 2006 SDC, it was unanimously resolved to amend the SUPP constitution to introduce a term limit of nine years for the party president."The central secretariat under Sim Kheng Hui and the publicity (section) under Alfred Yap, who is a lawyer, somehow did not forward the relevant amended articles and documents by the SDC to the Registrar of Societies for endorsement.

"As a result, all the relevant resolutions became null and void," he said, adding that the party leaders had made a big fool of the delegates who had come from all over the state at their own costs to attend the 2006 SDC.
He said that in 2008 and 2009, the DC, CC and CWC unanimously resolved not to accept Rayong, the independent state assemblyman for Engkilili, into SUPP because this would create a bad precedent.However, the central leadership chose to ignore these resolutions.Rayong was eventually admitted as a member on Sept 20.
Toh said the formation of the Dudong branch also faced a similar fate.
Despite the resolutions of 2005 and 2008, the SUPP Sibu branch defiantly directed Sibu Municipal Council to dismantle the party signboard of the Dudong branch in August 2009, and used its financial muscle to nip Dudong branch in the bud.

"No disciplinary action was taken because the top leaders were afraid of the financial strength of the Sibu branch leaders, thus making a mockery of the party’s constitution," he said.Toh said the most recent dispute over the choice of candidate in Padungan state constituency was yet another example of the high-handedness of the current leaders.In the 2009 CC meeting, it was unanimously resolved that all prospective state and parliamentary candidates must be recommended by the respective branches and subsequently forwarded to the CC for deliberation and approval.

However, SUPP president George Chan unilaterally announced that Lily Yong had declined to defend the seat. This was strongly denied by her and the Padungan branch.
Toh said that Chan must respect the resolutions adopted by the CC.
"Chan must remember he is not the emperor of SUPP,” he said, adding that the SUPP top leaders have short memories because they seemed to forget the political backlash from the voters.He said that in the 2006 state election when the chosen candidates from the respective branches were dropped at the 11th hour due to pressure from PBB, SUPP from that moment had lost all its sovereignty and independence.

He said that in August this year, all the important leaders (including both state and federal ministers) assembled in Kuala Lumpur to discuss ways to solve the woes faced by SUPP, especially over land issues, Chinese schools and the negative image of some PBB leaders.“All those present signed a letter of consensus and understanding which stipulated that if the Barisan Nasional at the federal level could not assist SUPP to solve these problems, then SUPP must seriously review its position in BN.Later, the secretary-general also informed the mass media that there would be ‘a big change’ in SUPP which will take place as early as September 2010.
The consensus was put in writing and signed by all the top SUPP leaders. Party members and supporters were thrilled upon hearing the news.
Sadly, once Chan came back from overseas, he categorically denied that there was such a consensus. Collective leadership exists in name only,” he said.

After the 2006 state election, SUPP was denied its rights to choose Kuching South City Mayor, who traditionally was a SUPP supporter recommended by the party.
The top leaders were submissive to PBB and they do not have the political courage to fight for it, he said.