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Saturday March 22, 2008
By JACK WONG
KUCHING: Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot Jaem will not quit the party and defect to the opposition.
SUPPs president Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said Riot promised him this over a telephone conversation from Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning (Friday).
He (Riot) has dismissed the rumours. He told me he is still with SUPP and has no intention of joining any other party.
He is a man of principles and will not be bought, added Dr Chan.
Dr Chan said Riot was a bit upset because he was not appointed to the federal administration, and that the veteran Bidayuh MP was in Kuala Lumpur to cool things down.
Dr Chan had recommended Riot, also SUPP Serian branch chairman, to be appointed a parliamentary secretary but the Prime Minister has abolished all such posts.
SUPPs state Assistant Minister for Land Development Francis Harden and publicity chief Datuk Alfred Yap Chin Loi appealed to party members and supporters in Serian at a meeting to remain calm and continue to stand behind the party and Barisan Nasional.
This was the second such meeting in three days the party leadership had with Riots supporters.
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) has also quashed rumours that its Mas Gading MP Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe might defect to the opposition.
Party deputy president Datuk Peter Nyarok said it was untrue that Dr Tiki would leave the Barisan.
I am very close to him. He is very grateful to the Barisan for making him what he is today, and he will not betray the Barisan, he added.
Dr Tiki, the former Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister, was dropped from the new federal Cabinet although he retained the Mas Gading seat in the recent polls.
His Bidayuh supporters were said to be unhappy over his exclusion, as the Bidayuhs had lost their representation in the federal government.
Dr Chan, also Deputy Chief Minister, said he was informed that Dr Tiki had met with the Prime Ministers aide yesterday to pledge support for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawis leadership.
Nyarok, also state Assistant Minister for Agriculture, is confident that all the Sarawak Barisan MPs, who had signed a letter recently to pledge support for the Prime Minister, would remain loyal to the coalition.
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