KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian has quashed rumours that deputy president Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem will be dropped in the 14th General Election.
“GE14 is going to be held soon and we have no time to drop anyone. We have to work together and be strong.
“We don’t just want SUPP to become strong. We should also make Sarawak strong politically,” Dr Sim, who is also state Local Government and Housing Minister, told Bernama.
It was rumoured that Riot, 66, who is Human Resources Minister and Serian MP, would be dropped for GE14.
The six-term MP is currently the sole SUPP elected representative in Parliament, having retained the Dayak seat of Serian, the only seat won by SUPP out of seven contested in GE13. He is also the party’s first non-Chinese deputy president.
Dr Sim said the Chinese support for SUPP was stronger now, which could help the state Barisan Nasional party redeem its poor performance in the last general election.
He was optimistic that Sarawak’s oldest party would have better luck this time around.
Asked about the action of SUPP’s splinter group, the United People’s Party, to stake its claim on the same seven parliamentary seats, he said those were SUPP’s traditional seats and no other party should claim them.
Apart from Serian, the remaining six seats contested by SUPP in GE13 were Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sibu, Lanang, Sarikei, which went to DAP, and Bandar Miri, to PKR, which are Chinese-majority urban seats.
“The Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) had said during the Chinese New Year luncheon organised by SUPP in Sibu recently that he wants SUPP to wrest back the Lanang and Sibu seats.
“This clearly shows that the Chief Minister himself wants SUPP to contest in these seats,” said Dr Sim.
Thus, he added, anyone who wishes to contest in those seven seats using the Barisan symbol must be SUPP candidates.