MIRI: Voting by party members at the SUPP branch elections in Miri has been keen, especially in the Piasau branch, which has been helmed by party president Tan Sri Dr George Chan over the past 30 years.
Datuk Sebastian Ting, the political secretary of Miri MP and Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin, locked horns with Hii Khing Chiong, the managing director of Kingwood Group of Companies, to become Dr Chan’s successor.
Polling at this hot seat got off to an enthusiastic start yesterday morning with hundreds of SUPP members queuing patiently at a hotel here to cast their votes.
As at 3.30pm, some 750 members had cast their ballots to select the candidates to fill the 43 committee posts and 15 delegate positions.
The voting ended at 4pm and counting began soon after.
Most of the members who turned up were natives, particularly Ibans.
Campaigners for Ting and Hii were seen distributing name lists and cards to promote the candidates of their choice.
Piasau is a hot seat because the branch chairman, by tradition, is chosen as the Barisan Nasional candidate for the seat in the state elections.
Piasau was previously part of the Miri SUPP branch.
SUPP Miri branch chairman and wakil rakyat has always been appointed as assistant state minister, state minister, deputy federal minister or federal minister.
Dr Chan, the former deputy chief minister 1, is stepping down as the Piasau chairman after his defeat by DAP’s Ling Sie Kiong in the April state elections.
He has also indicated his intention to step down as the party’s president during next month’s triennial delegates conference in Kuching.
At the SUPP Pujut branch elections yesterday, incumbent chairman Andy Chia retained his post for a third term.
At the Bekenu branch, Chin started the meeting at 5pm and is expected to retain the chairman post unchallenged.
State Assistant Minister of Communications and Sports Datuk Lee Kim Shin retained the Senadin branch chairman post unchallenged.