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Sunday March 23, 2008
PUTRAJAYA: Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot
Jaem is not crossing over to the Opposition. In
fact, he has not even been approached.
The talk in the last few days that he was crossing
over was “speculative reporting,” he told a
press conference here yesterday.
He said he had flown back from a holiday to
call for the press conference although he
appeared secretive when asked where he had
been the past few days.
“I want to stress here that I am a Barisan man
and I was voted in as a Barisan candidate. I will
stay put and remain loyal to the coalition under
the leadership of Prime Minister Pak Lah (Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) at the federal
level and under the Sarawak state leadership.
“It has never crossed my mind to leave the coalition and join the Opposition. I have never
been approached by anyone to leave the coalition,
let alone (PKR adviser Datuk Seri) Anwar
“As far as Richard Riot Jaem is concerned, he
(Anwar) is telling lies about me,” he told
reporters after meeting with Barisan and
Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku
Adnan Tengku Mansor.
Talk has been rife that the long-serving
Serian Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP)
branch chairman had quit the party after he
was not appointed to the federal administration,
with his supporters – mostly Bidayuhs –
said to be upset.
Riot retained the Serian seat for the fifth
term with a 13,427-vote majority in the general
Asked if he knew anyone among his peers in
Sarawak who had been approached or were
thinking of leaving Barisan, Riot replied:
“I am not aware of anyone but I don’t think
that as an MP from Sarawak, where BN has a
stronghold, any of them will be foolish enough
to leave. As a BN man, I am not cheap because
no money can buy a career.
“BN MPs and in particular Richard Riot is not
cheap,” he stressed, adding that he was
shocked to find himself the “star” of such
rumours, which he believed originated from
an Internet report.
Riot said he had left for a long-deserved
holiday after the elections. Arrangements
for the holiday had been made even before
the announcement of the Cabinet line-up,
“But I knew before the announcement that I
wouldn’t be in it,” he said, denying that he had
been in Melbourne as alleged by another
report as he “would not be able to afford such
He also denied reports that he had been disappointed
at being excluded as the Prime
Minister had the prerogative in the matter.
“However, the PM has said many times that
no community will be left out and with the
Bidayuh community being the third largest
ethnic group in Sarawak, I have faith that he
won’t forget about us.
“I think that in the near future, he will
accommodate us,” he said.
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