KUCHING: The urban seat of Batu Kawah is quickly shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested ones.
Liu Thian Leong, the branch chairman of UPP, which is the breakaway party of SUPP, announced on Thursday he would quit and enter the fray as an independent, creating a three-way fight.
In a statement yesterday, Liu said he was contesting because he “is selfless in intention, and fearless in action”.
He also reiterated his support for Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and called his candidacy a “pro Barisan” one.
SUPP central publicity retaliated with its own statement, pointing out that “there is no such thing as a Barisan-friendly independent candidate”.
“All independent candidates are against Adenan’s team.”
Taking aim at Liu’s candidacy, SUPP claimed “there is a certain group determined to destroy SUPP by way of money politics” without elaborating.
“SUPP urges its members and supporters to be vigilant and to resolutely defend its 13 seats.”
In 2011, DAP’s Christina Chiew won by a slim 543 votes in the urban seat of more than 20,000 voters.
SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian contested in Pending in the same election, losing to DAP’s Violet Yong. Liu has never contested before.
Adenan recently announced Dr Sim as the Barisan candidate for the seat, Liu was in the running on the UPP ticket.
In Adenan’s finalised candidates’ list, there are 13 SUPP candidates and seven “Barisan direct candidates” linked to UPP.
Liu was not on the list. In Liu’s statement, he said he “firmly believes that there will only be progress when there is competition”.
“We have fostered healthy competition in Batu Kawah through our efforts and work. Consequently, people are the ultimate winners and benefactors of this healthy competition,” he said.
Liu is no lightweight, having helmed the Federation of Boards of Management for Kuching and Samarahan Divisions Aided Chi-nese Primary Schools since 2004.