KUCHING: The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) has reiterated its intention to contest the vacant state seat of Pujut as a Barisan Nasional (BN) component.
“It’s a BN component seat. If anybody wants to contest, they can join SUPP,” the party’s president Dr Sim Kui Hian told reporters at the Sarawak assembly today.
“As far as I am concerned, if they want to contest, they can join SUPP.”
The comments were a dig at the party’s rival, United People’s Party (UPP), an influential and well-financed splinter group that broke off in 2014 after years of infighting.
The party has yet to be recognised as a BN component by the Registrar of Societies, but is acknowledged by the state ruling government as a “BN-friendly party”.
UPP controls five state seats, mainly in the state’s central region, while SUPP controls one parliamentary and seven state seats.
“They are saying that previously they contested under UPP,” Sim said.
“I say it’s not (true). The last time, it was contested under BN direct, and the candidate had to resign from UPP.
“I’m just stating the facts. I am not saying anything more than what is happening. So I welcome people to join SUPP,” he said.
Timber tycoon Hii King Chiong resigned from UPP just prior to the state election last May to contest as a “BN direct candidate”, a term coined by the late Adenan Satem (former Sarawak chief minister) to allow candidates from non-BN component parties to contest in the state election.
“These are Barisan Nasional seats. Whoever wants to contest, they are more than welcome to join SUPP.
“It’s a SUPP seat. If I give it up, I can only give it up to PBB. I can only give it up to PRS. I can only give it up to SPDP,” Sim said.
He was referring to Sarawak BN components Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party.
Sim added that the opposition was also welcome to join SUPP.
“Why only UPP? DAP also can (join) since they’re always so unhappy on the other side of the bench. DAP and so many of DAP members are so unhappy on the other side.
“So come over and join us. Don’t get jealous that we are happy,” Sim said.
He added that the candidate would be a local.
“Nobody expected this. I did not plan for this,” he said, adding that the party was waiting for the Election Commission’s decision on the by-election after its meeting on Friday.
The Pujut state seat is located in Miri with 26,532 registered voters, who are predominantly Chinese.
It was left vacant after DAP assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon was dismissed from the Sarawak assembly last Friday for having dual citizenship at one time.
The motion to dismiss Ting was tabled by state Second Finance Minister and UPP leader Wong Soon Koh.
DAP plans to take the matter to court and challenge the decision.
Source: Free Malaysia Today