STAR plans to convert ‘fixed deposit’ status to ‘overdraft’

KUCHING: Sarawak-based opposition party State Reform Party (STAR) has pledged to help Sarawak shed its ‘fixed deposit’ label.

How it hopes to achieve this after lying dormant for several years is anybody’s guess.

After the party’s annual general meeting which saw the election of the new office bearers on April 10 in Kuching, newly-elected president Lina Soo confidently announced that STAR intends to convert Putrajaya’s ‘fixed deposit’ to an ‘overdraft’.

This is to be achieved by pressuring both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan lawmakers to recognise Sarawak’s rights via the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“We seek the restoration of Sarawak’s rights which were lost as a consequence of Constitutional Amendment Act A354 Sec. 2 effective Aug 27 1976, which downgraded Sarawak to be the 13th state, instead of one of three component territories as per Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“STAR seeks to have a voice in DUN where we can pressure the Sarawak government to legislate and take action to seek to repeal Act 354 sec. 2 in Parliament.

“We also seek to restore the ‘K’ back in our identity cards as opposed to ‘13’ which only accentuates our loss of political status to the 13th state,” Soo said.

But first, she said STAR has to send representatives to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) and to do that it has to contest in the coming state election.

The party is appealing to voters to send its first lawmakers to the DUN where its representatives can voice out Sarawak voters’ legitimate concerns to regain, as Soo describes, “their political status, our pride and our dignity”.

STAR is eyeing 30 seats and is said to have identified its potential candidates.

The seats are Tasik Biru, Tg Datu, Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Batu Kitang, Batu Kawah, Stakan, Serembu, Mambong, Kedup, Bukit Semuja, Semop, Daro, Jemoreng, Repok, Meradong, Machan, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Pelawan, Nangka, Dalat, Tellian, Balingian, Jepak, Tanjong Batu, Kemena and Samalaju.

But the cash-strapped party which laid bare its 2015 financial statements at the AGM last Saturday, showing a balance of only RM1,368.65 with zero tangible assets, will have to fork out an election deposit of RM15,000 per constituency.

With the party eyeing an ambitious 30 seats, this works out to nearly half a million ringgit.

“We will put up 30 candidates provided we’re successful in our public fund-raising appeal to raise RM15,000 per constituency which will amount to RM450,000 for 30 seats.

“Otherwise, STAR will have to abort its election plan,” says Soo.

The party suffered a major setback when its permanent chairman Dr Patau Rubis collapsed and died following a massive stroke during the AGM late last month. The party elections had to be postponed and resumed last Saturday.

Soo claimed the party never had any ‘towkay’ financing the party in its 20 years of existence.

“Also STAR has never ever received any funding from overseas NGOs. Therefore, the party is beholden to no one except Sarawak voters,” she said.

Meanwhile, the party manifesto will be unveiled before nomination day.

The new office bearers for the 2016-2021 term:

Permanent chairman: Johnny Bob Aput

Deputy permanent chairman I: Buln Ribos

Deputy permanent chairman II: Tambi Pilang

President: Lina Soo

Deputy president I:_James Undau

Deputy president II: Mura Kadir

Deputy president III: Zulfaqar Sa`adi

Vice presidents: Fatric Nawi, Jotem Kipa@Joseph, Mohammed Annuar Abd Hamid, Richard Revis Jimin, Vincent Augustine Bagat, Adam Wong Sing Wei, Moh Hiong King, Marcus Kayong and Mesah Suhaili

Hon. secretary: Simon Tiong Ing Tung

Assistant hon. secretary I: Patrick Teo Kuong Kim

Assistant hon. secretary II: Paul Dahop

Hon. treasurer: Chieng Lea Phing

Hon. assistant treasurer I: Jiju Ak Sulit

Hon. assistant treasurer II: Albert Voon

Committee: Ting Siong Ann, Simi Gindang, Mac Sunting, Lee Shak Fah, Lau Kee Ling, Mathew Igoh, Adeline Teng, Ting Chek Yii and Winston Way

Women’s chief: Sylvia John Gemok

ADUN elected lawmaker: Dr Jeffrey Kitingan

Advisor: Danny Ruing

Legal advisor: Daren Ling

-The Ant Daily

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