United People’s Party (UPP) chairman, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (left) says the list of possible candidates for the Pujut by-election have been submitted to Sarawak Chief Minister and Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg. Pix by CHE RANI CHE.

KUCHING: The United People’s Party (UPP) has submitted a list of its potential candidates for the Pujut state seat by-election to Chief Minister and Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Amar Abang Johari Abang Openg.

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, said names submitted by the party are of “winnable candidates” who could help the ruling coalition wrest the state seat from the DAP.

Wong, however, confirmed that UPP’s Datuk Hii King Chieng, who stood as BN’s direct candidate for Pujut in the state polls last year, is not in the list.

“The list comprises names of potential candidates selected from UPP’s branch in Pujut.

“They are familiar faces among the locals and have been working on the ground helping constituents in the Pujut state seat,” he told reporters when met at his office here today.

Asked if the candidate selected to contest in Pujut would be required to quit the party in order to stand as a BN direct candidate, Wong said it is up to BN’s top leadership to decide on the matter.

“I will leave it to the Prime Minister (BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and Chief Minister (Abang Johari) to decide,” he said.

UPP is a splinter party of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). During the 11th state election last year, UPP candidates were required to quit the party in order to stand as BN direct candidates.

Earlier today, the Election Commission (EC) in Putrajaya announced that polling day for the Pujut state seat by-election has been fixed for July 4.

The by-election was called following the sacking of its former assemblyman, Dr Ting Tiong Choon, last week by the Sarawak state legislative assembly over allegations that he held dual citizenship.

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