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SIBU, Sept 18, 2014:

The United People’s Party (UPP), Sarawak’s new political party friendly to the Barisan Nasional (BN), said today it hopes to set up 24 branches in the state in three months.

Its pro-tem president, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, said the party would write to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) for approval to set up the branches.

He had presented to party representatives the RoS documents for setting up four branches here in Bawang Assan, Bukit Assek, Pelawan and Dudong. There are plans to set up branches in Sarikei and Kanowit as well.

The party will also write to the RoS to allow it to set up a branch in Sri Aman as well.

Wong, who is the State Minister of Local Government and Community Development, was formerly the assistant secretary-general of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). He left the party in May this year after a protracted leadership crisis.

He said he expected 15,000 people, including 6,000 Bumiputeras, to join the four Sibu branches.

“We certainly welcome former SUPP members in the state who share and believe in our political ideology and pursuits,” he said, adding that UPP hoped to attract young professionals in particular.

Wong, who is the state assemblyman for Bawang Assan, said UPP “will be a very focused multiracial party and its leaders will always be on the ground to serve the people more efficiently and competently”.

“In those branches where we will have many Bumiputera members, we will set up separate offices for them as issues from the longhouses and rural areas are different from those in the towns and cities.”

He also said that the party’s first triennial delegates conference was scheduled to be held in Kuching by the end of November.

Asked whether the party would reconcile with SUPP, he said he would leave the matter to the state and federal BN leaders.

“We have after all been treated as part of the BN family and we have been invited to a number of major state celebrations so far.”

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