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Friday, July 11, 2008

I don’t have to stay on: Dr Chan

SUPP president says if he can’t find a successor, he will look for a group of them

Whether or not Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan will stay on as the president of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) will depend on whether he can find a suitable successor.

“I think my top priority is to find a successor and to see how to get the party moving. Maybe it’s not so much about a successor but more a group of new people who can actually bring out the best of the party.

“And if I can find a successor, I don’t have to stay on (as president) but if I can’t find one, I will think of another way out,” he told reporters yesterday when asked if he would retract his plan to step down during the party’s delegates conference end of this year.

While acknowledging that the party was in dire need of new blood, Dr Chan said he would have to opt for ‘other plans’ if he could not find a successor.

“I must get a group of new successors to rejuvenate the party,” he said.

Dr Chan, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, pointed out that he “doesn’t need fair weather friends” when it concerned the betterment of the party.

“When the ‘chips’ of the party are down, I hope the best would come along the way,” he said.
Asked if he would step down during the party’s year-end delegates conference, he said: “Why so eager (to know)? If I can get a successor that’s the best.”

Asked if he was having a hard time picking a successor because there were no capable leaders in SUPP, he laughed: “The party should have (calibre persons).”

Dr Chan had expressed his wish to retire early last year. However, recently SUPP deputy secretary-general Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and a few other leaders had called on Dr Chan to carry on as party president, reasoning that he was the best person to continue leading the party which was seeing some bad patches.

Yesterday Dr Chan ruled out the possibility of a merger of SUPP and Parti Gerakan as recently speculated.

“No, no… I can tell you it’s a ‘no’. We usually exchange views with the president (acting president of Gerakan Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon),” he replied as to whether the two parties were considering any merger move.

It was reported that a special meeting between the leaders of SUPP and Gerakan was held at the Borneo Highlands near here on June 29. The purpose and outcome of the meeting remained undisclosed.

Dr Chan was quick to add: “We (he and Dr Koh) are good friends ever since I was in the Parliament last time. Every time we have common problems, we always meet and talk so there is nothing much.”

“I have to get our house in order first before we talk about other things,” he said.

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