Sim’s olive branch to five former rivals

Sim’s olive branch to five former rivals

KUCHING: Fresh from a respectable election victory, Sarawak United People’s Party is offering an olive branch to its former heavyweights to return and rejuvenate the party after winning state assembly seats as Barisan Nasional direct candidates.

SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian said today that SUPP which won seven of the 13 seats it contested, would become more formidable as a political party should the five former leaders accept the offer.

“Unity is more important. The olive branch is always on offer. They are always welcome to rejoin SUPP,” he said.

Dr Sim, a cardiologist by profession, led SUPP’s revival by taking Batu Kawah with a 2,085 vote majority, defeating the DAP’s Christina Chew Wang See, who sought re-election, and independent candidate Liu Thian Leong, a former branch leader of the breakaway United People’s Party.

The other SUPP victories were delivered by secretary-general Sebastian Ting in Piasau, vice-presidents Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang) and Lee Kim Shin (Senadin), Dr Huang Tiong Sii (Repok), Ding Kuong Hiing (Meradong), and Lo Khere Chiang (Batu Kitang).

Former SUPP members also elected were Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan), Tiong Thai King (Dudong), Dr Jerip Susil (Mambong), Dr Johnichal Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili) and Ranum Mina (Opar).

Wong, an assistant secretary-general of SUPP, resigned in May 2014 with Dr Jerip, Dr Rayong and Ranum to join Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak but also left Teras two months later to form United People’s Party, as a BN-friendly party.

Barisan Nasional chairman Adenan Satem had set a pre-condition before choosing election candidates that those nominated as BN direct candidates could choose or join any component party if elected.

The other component parties in Sarawak are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak People’s Democratic Party and Parti Rakyat Sarawak. SUPP, SPDP and PRS had objected to accepting Teras and UPP as BN components.

– BERNAMA

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Next, jostling to be in Adenan’s Cabinet

Next, jostling to be in Adenan’s Cabinet

KUCHING: Now that the dust is settling on the state elections, attention is switching to how Chief Minister Adenan Satem will put together his Cabinet from Barisan Nasional partners and their rivals fielded as direct candidates having also contributed to the BN’s landslide victory.

Sarawak United People’s Party and and Sarawak People’s Democratic Party are still at odds with their breakaway groups which provided most of the direct candidates. There is also the question of Chinese representation in the state government.

SUPP and SPDP are not talking to the direct candidates who resigned from their respective splinter groups, UPP and Teras, to stand in the election.

“This is Adenan’s biggest headache. It will not be easy but he has to fix this once and for all. The rival sides have to come to a compromise,” said political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir.

He said fielding direct candidates turned out to be “a good strategy” and it was quite an achievement that 11 of 13 won.

Another commentator said last night’s victory press conference seemed to show SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian with the advantage for the post of deputy chief minister.

“Adenan announced the seats won by SUPP, and you can see who was there,” said the commentator, who declined to be named, referring to Dr Sim and speculation that he would be made deputy chief minister.

SUPP were demolished by DAP in 2011 in Chinese areas but made a come-back, winning seven seats, five of them in Chinese-dominated Batu Kawah, Batu Kitang, Piasau, Repok and Meradong.

A Chinese community leader pointed out that other BN Chinese candidates were old hands in the state assembly. Wong Koh resigned from UPP and retained Bawang Assan for a sixth term, and SUPP vice-president Lee Kim Shin defended the Senadin mixed seat for a fifth term.

“Wong is a state senior minister and Lee is an assistant minister. Dr Sim has not been in the Cabinet before. This is his first term as a state assemblyman,” he added.

There has been no Chinese deputy chief minister since Dr George Chan, then SUPP president, was defeated by DAP rookie Alan Ling Sie Kong in Piasau in 2011.

This time, Piasau returned to SUPP when party secretary-general Sebastian Ting beat Ling with a bigger majority yesterday.

Adenan had said he wanted Chinese ministers in his government and the issue of a Chinese deputy chief minister was a matter to be considered later.

“He has to make sure he has the best team in his Cabinet taking into account all factors — ethnic, strong backgrounds in various disciplines and the experience to lead the transformation he has envisioned for Sarawak,” said Jeniri.

It’s a situation that calls for delicate handling, but whatever decision is reached, Sarawakians can be sure that it will be “Adenan’s way”.

– BERNAMA

Kit Siang blames seat changes and low turnout

Kit Siang blames seat changes and low turnout

PETALING JAYA: The DAP has blamed changes in electoral boundaries for the party’s defeat in yesterday’s elections to the Sarawak state assembly.

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang said that the changes, which he described as gerrymandering, favoured Barisan Nasional (BN) and had resulted in Sarawak DAP losing five of the 12 seats it previously held.

Lim congratulated Sarawak BN leader Adenan Satem for the party’s convincing victory, taking 72 seats in the 82-seat assembly. The DAP was returned in seven seats and PKR was re-elected to three seats.

He claimed that Adenan’s forecast of winning at least 70 seats had been based on gerrymandering in redrawing the state assembly seat boundaries.

He pinpointed Alan Ling Sie Kiong, the Sarawak DAP secretary, as “the greatest victim of such BN-created constituencies” for his defeat in Piasau.

Ling, dubbed a giant-killer, had won the seat in 2011 by defeating George Chan, then SUPP president, with a majority of 1,590 votes. On Saturday, he was unseated by SUPP secretary Sebastian Ting who won a comfortable 2,112-vote majority, polling 7,799 votes against Ling’s 5,687.

Piasau was one of the seats involved in the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation of state assembly seats last year, in which 12 new seats were created.

In a statement issued at a news conference in Kuching today, Lim also blamed lower turnout as a factor in the party’s defeat.

He said Sarawak DAP could have retained the 12 state assembly seats from 2011 if the voter turnout had been closer to the 76.3 percent turnout for the 2013 parliamentary election. He claimed that voter turnout yesterday was only 68.1 percent. However, the Election Commission said today that the turnout was 70.1 percent, or the same level as at the 2011 election.

Kit Siang said the DAP would remain committed to political change and would seek to have a full slate of Chinese, Dayak and Malay representatives in the Sarawak State Assembly.

He said Sarawak DAP was prepared for the long haul and would stick to its aim of forming the next state government in Sarawak.

ELECTION RESULTS

Adenan: BN did better than I expected

BN makes good showing in mainly-Chinese areas

BN makes good showing in mainly-Chinese areas

KUCHING: The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition exceeded its own expectations in Chinese-dominated constituencies in yesterday’s Sarawak elections, wresting back five of 12 seats formerly held by the DAP and taking the new constituency of Batu Kitang.

The coalition took five “hot seats” of Batu Kawah, Dudong, Repok, Meradong and Piasau, while PKR retained the hot seat of Ba’kelalan and DAP won the fierce battle for Pujut.

In Batu Kawah, SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian, leading the BN fight for Chinese-dominated constituencies, unseated the DAP’s Christina Chiew in the most keenly-watched contest in the election.

He polled 6,414 votes against 4,329 for Chiew. The former local UPP chairman, Liu Thian Leong, who had been seen as a heavyweight independent, got just 1,109 votes.

Another SUPP candidate, Lo Khere Chiang, won in a five-cornered fight in the new constituency of Batu Kitang, polling 6,466 votes against 4,626 for his nearest rival, Abdul Aziz Isa Marindo of DAP. The other candidates were Voon Shiak Ni of PKR and independents Sulaiman Kadir and Othman Bojeng.

In Repok, BN-SUPP candidate Hiong Tiong Sii won a narrow victory by 943 votes over Yong Siew Wei of DAP, with 7,446 votes against Yong’s 6,503.
Former DAP member Wong Chin King, standing as an independent, had 381 votes. The seat was won by DAP’s Dr Wong Hua Seh in 2011 in a three-way fight.

In Meradong, Ding Kuong Hiing of SUPP, a former Sarikei MP, unseated two-term assemblyman Ting Tze Fui of DAP by 6,865 votes to 5,349.

Piasau saw a battle of party secretaries-general with BN’s Sebastian Ting of SUPP overcoming DAP’s Alan Ling Sie Kiong by 7,799 votes to 5,687. Ling had been dubbed a “giant-killer” in 2011 when he was elected with a 1,590 majority over then SUPP president George Chan.

In Dudong, BN direct candidate Tiong Thai King won in a five-way fight, unseating the DAP’s Yap Hoi Liong by 9,700 votes to 7,544. The other candidates were Ting Yik Hong of Star and independents Casper Kayong Umping and Lee Chung Fatt.

In 2011, Yap had narrowly won against Tiong in a three-man contest by 317 votes.

In Bawang Assan, Wong Soon Koh retained the BN’s only Chinese-majority seat from 2011. Wong, a direct BN candidate, going for a fifth term, defeated Chiew Sung Ngie of DAP by 4,131 votes. The other candidates were Wong Sing Wei of Star and independents Watson Bangau and Yeu Bang Keng.

At the previous election in 2011, Wong had overcome DAP’s Alice Lau with a 1,808 majority.

In the mixed constituency of Senadin, BN’s Lee Kim Shin of SUPP warded off native candidates Lun Bawang Baru Langub of DAP and Iban Philemon John Edan of PBDS-B to win by 3,538 votes. He polled 10,683 votes, Baru Langub 7,145 and Philemon 329.

Dennis Ngau of PBB retained the interior Orang Ulu constituency of Telang Usan, beating PKR’s Roland Engan in a straight fight by 167 votes. In 2011, Dennis won a four-cornered contest by 845 votes.

In Ba’kelalan, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian staved off a challenge from his nephew, Willie Liau of BN, in a high-profile rematch. Baru won by 538 votes, garnering 2,858 against Willie’s 2,302. In 2011, Baru won by a 473-margin.

In Pujut, DAP new face Dr Ting Tiong Choon beat BN’s Hii King Chiong of BN, Jofri Jaraie of PAS and former assemblyman Fong Pau Teck, who stood as an independent after being sacked from the DAP in 2013. Dr Ting polled 8,899 votes, Hii 7,140, Jaraie 413, and Fong 375.

-BERNAMA

SUPP’s Lo: Adenan won back Chinese support

SUPP’s Lo: Adenan won back Chinese support

KUCHING: The landslide victory by Barisan Nasional in the state elections is a sign of the return of Chinese support through the Sarawak United People’s Party, says the new assemblyman for Batu Kitang, Lo Khere Chiang.

Lo said Sarawak Barisan Nasional chairman Adenan Satem’s leadership had garnered popularity among voters.

“Chinese voters have swung back to BN in large numbers and this happened because of Adenan himself. Adenan had shown himself to be a positive and fair leader for all communities and that’s the reason there’s a big swing in the Chinese community.”

Adenan had reiterated that members of the Chinese community could no longer be regarded as “pendatang” as they had been in the state for generations, evident from the presence of thousands of century-old Chinese graveyards.

His manifesto with the theme “Give Team Adenan a chance” had contained promises to uphold the rights of Sarawak and its people, to increase the participation of women in the state’s activities and preserves Sarawak culture, heritage and beliefs.

Lo said the SUPP’s new lineup which consisted of new and young faces was one of the factors for the landslide BN victory.

“SUPP have recovered their image and because of the new lineup, we can see that our candidates were more popular among voters,” he said. The party’s candidates were accepted by voters because of Adenan’s wisdom.

Adenan, who is president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, had also promised to guarantee the people’s rights over their land, to provide more affordable housing for the low and middle income group and to create more job opportunities for all Sarawakians.

His pledge to safeguard peace and harmony in the state was also seen through tough use of immigration laws to refuse entry to such peninsular personalities as Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Yunos, infamous blogger “Papagomo”, and several opposition leaders.

Lo secured election victory in Batu Kitang with 6,494 votes. DAP’s Abdul Aziz Isa took 4,628 votes and PKR’s Voon Shiak Ni 889.

DAP’s Aziz: BN must thank my grandma for winning

DAP’s Aziz: BN must thank my grandma for winning

KUCHING: Batu Kitang’s defeated DAP candidate Abdul Aziz Isa says BN must thank his grandmother for winning the seat.

Abdul Aziz congratulated BN candidate Lo Khere Chiang for winning but reminded him that it was his grandmother Mazuyin Abd Manan’s support that had helped him in this election.

“I would also like to congratulate my grandmother for helping Lo win.”

Lo obtained 6,494 votes, Abdul Aziz 4,628 votes and PKR’s Voon Shiak Ni 889 votes.

Speaking to FMT, Abdul Aziz also attributed his defeat to the low turnout of 52% recorded at 4pm, according to the Election Commission (EC).

(However, EC chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah later claimed turnout was 71%. He did not explain the earlier low turnout figure quoted widely in news reports.)

“It could be because of the low turnout this time around, but at least I didn’t lose my deposit,” Abdul Aziz said.

“The difference in my votes and that of my opponent is quite marginal.

“But it was a fantastic fight. At least I lost with dignity but I won in terms of morality.”

On a positive note, Abdul Aziz said DAP’s defeat in the Batu Kitang constituency would usher in a new beginning as it was a sign of Chinese voters accepting Malay leaders.

“This is a new beginning and could prove that the Chinese are starting to accept Malays as candidates.”

Abdul Aziz said that he would not give up after this defeat and added that it was an unfair election as BN had the upper hand.

“This is an unfair election because the Opposition can’t beat BN in terms of machinery, resources and bringing in West Malaysian leaders.”

The chips are down for Sarawak Chinese

The chips are down for Sarawak ChineseANALYSIS

KUCHING: What a difference two years can make. The change of mood is evident as Sarawakians cast their ballots.

Much of the relaxed and feel good atmosphere is due to Chief Minister Adenan Satem with his popular initiatives for the people and state.

His Chinese-friendly policies have cut the ground from under the opposition, disabling them from whipping up the same anti-BN fervour as the last time.

All set for a five-year term in the legislative house, expanded from 71 to 82 seats, the Barisan Nasional made a final push with Adenan appealing to the people to vote Barisan Nasional for “a better Sarawak” in advertisements in different languages in local dailies on Friday.

“The vote you cast tomorrow will determine how best we can protect the unity that we now enjoy, and to continue strengthening our unity for generations to come,” said Adenan.

“It is your vote that will help Sarawak achieve greater autonomy to realise our shared aspirations of becoming a truly progressive partner in the Federation of Malaysia, as our country’s founding fathers envisioned in 1963.”

BN is in no dire straits, and analysts are predicting it would win 65 to 70 seats surpassing the two-third mark of 55 constituencies. Adenan expects to win 70 including some Chinese seats lost by small majorities in 2011. He has repeatedly stated his wish for Chinese representation in his government.

There are 80 seats in contention with BN candidates returned unopposed in Bukit Sari and Bukit Kota.

BN is expected to dominate in over 60 Bumiputera areas with heavyweight PBB taking the lead in contesting 40 seats, PRS 11, SPDP five, and direct candidates, nine.

The crucial test is still whether its SUPP component and four direct candidates, all formerly from UPP, a splinter of SUPP, can turn the tables on DAP in the battle for hearts and minds of the Chinese in Kuching, Miri and Sibu.

“May 7 will be a defining moment for the Chinese community and its future in the state government. The verdict of Chinese voters will determine the survival of SUPP and UPP which have been fighting each other,” said political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir.

In 2011, BN won 55 of 71 seats, DAP 12, PKR three, and independent one.

However Pakatan was in trouble from the start with the DAP-PKR seat squabble spilling into a cold war during campaigning.

Despite the presence of four other political parties — Pakatan’s third partner Amanah, PAS, STAR and PBDSB — and 36 independents, the contest is largely between BN and DAP, and with PKR.

In the six seats where DAP and PKR are clashing, BN will likely have the edge. These include the new Chinese majority Batu Kitang constituency.

Observers expect the DAP to end up with less than 10 urban seats and lose in all 16 interior, mostly Dayak, constituencies. The party has said it wants to win at least 18 of the 31 seats it contested

PKR, very muted in its campaign for 40 seats, is forecast to repeat its three seat win at best. Keenly watched is the battle for Ba-Kelalan where state PKR Chief Baru Bian is seeking re-election in the largely Lun Bawang constituency against his nephew and BN candidate Willie Liau again.

“Some independents may look to have some fighting chance but for now, it is unlikely any one of them can win,” said one commentator. “So, outside of BN and DAP and to a lesser extent PKR, the rest are inconsequential.”

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The Chinese dilemma

The Chinese dilemma

If it’s true that the pragmatism of the Chinese dictates their voting for a stable party to represent their interests, then the Chinese in Sarawak have a dilemma when they go to the polls this weekend. Neither SUPP nor DAP is fit for the “stable” label. SUPP is fighting with its splinter, UPP, and DAP with its Pakatan partner, PKR.

Of course, at this point in time, the Chinese vote is almost irrelevant if one is thinking about the overall result of the election. Virtually all predictions point to a Barisan Nasional victory, thanks in large part to the popularity of Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

The question that remains for the Chinese voters is whether they want a large representation in the state assembly or a voice in the state cabinet. Adenan has promised to give them that voice, and he has shown that he is true to his promises.

Despite goodwill towards Adenan, however, Chinese support for BN this weekend remains uncertain, although Bernama has been churning out much optimism through its reports. According to the national news agency, political observers are confident that SUPP, running in 13 constituencies, will win back some of the 12 Chinese seats it lost in 2011. “Back” is the operative word here. The party lost its dominance of Chinese politics to DAP in that election, and was subsequently set back further by the resignation of several party stalwarts, who went on to form UPP.

Bernama’s glowing reports lose their credibility somewhat when one considers the continuing altercation between SUPP and UPP.

“The Chinese community does not want a political party that is fighting,” said Temenggong Lu Kim Yong, Kuching’s highest-ranked Chinese community leader. “The sentiment on the ground is that when you guys are fighting, I will not support you because you have no time to serve the people.”

Political analyst Jeniri Amir agrees, saying that even the possibility of a Chinese deputy chief minister in the form of SUPP’s Senator Sim Kui Hian may not greatly influence the Chinese vote.

“To be fair, SUPP has turned over a new leaf and put in a lot of professionals,” Jeniri said. “But with its ongoing fight with UPP, I don’t think its campaign will have much impact on the Chinese voters, even if the carrot of a Chinese deputy chief minister is dangled before them.”

He acknowledged that Adenan’s popularity will result in a return of some Chinese votes to BN. “With Adenan, there will be a swing, but not a big one,” he said. “At best, four Chinese seats could return to BN.”

And that doesn’t give any reason for DAP to come out cheering either. Considering recent developments on the opposition side, the prospects presented by voting for DAP seem equally unsavoury.

The opposition is just as fractured. A huge crack in their wall appeared when DAP and PKR failed to reach an agreement on seat distribution, and fielded candidates in what will now become multi-cornered tussles in several constituencies. The crack was soon widened by the petty fighting that followed. The quarrelling in Batu Kitang is an example of this. DAP campaigner Ng Wei Aik is continuing with his social media assault on PKR’s candidate for the seat, Voon Shiak Ni.

Even ignoring the fact that Ng is the MP for Tanjong – that is to say, a West Malaysian who really should have no business stepping into Sarawak ground-level disputes – the continued fighting will do little to engender the Chinese community’s love for his party. It doesn’t help that he has descended to pettiness with his caustic Facebook comments against PKR, such as telling it to “go to hell”.

Above all else, the Chinese value community. To divide ranks with infighting is beyond stupid at this point, and will do even less towards denying BN the two-third majority it is aiming for.

Batu Kitang candidate: Don’t use my grandma against me

Batu Kitang candidate: Don’t use my grandma against meKUCHING: DAP’s Batu Kitang candidate Abdul Aziz Isa slammed SUPP’s Lo Khere Chiang for dragging his grandmother, Mazuyin Abd Manan, into the election campaign.

Labelling it as a form of “dirty politics”, Abdul Aziz accused Lo, who is also contesting in the constituency, for recruiting Mazuyin to smear his reputation.

Last week, Mazuyin made a surprise appearance at Lo’s ceramah in Batu Kitang, condemning her grandson’s move to contest under the Opposition’s banner and pledged her support to SUPP.

Mazuyin had also called on the people  not to vote for Abdul Aziz.

Abdul Aziz advised Lo to be more mature when fishing for votes.

“I would like to ask him to be a gentleman. He is already 56 years old, more than double my age,” the 26-year-old said at a press conference.

Pesent was DAP Sarawak Chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Abdul Aziz said it would have been better for Lo to debate him on policies instead of “using” his 75-year-old grandmother.

He went on to state that differing political views among family members were a common occurrence.

“The same goes for my grandmother. She’s a strong Barisan Nasional supporter and, naturally, I can’t convince her to vote for DAP.”

Chong echoed similar sentiments, saying that people from different generations may have clashing political ideologies and accused Lo of capitalising on this situation to his advantage.

“I think Lo owes Abdul Aziz an apology for resorting to such low tactics.

“Lo is much older, yet he doesn’t have any political maturity.”

Batu Kitang candidate: Don’t use my grandma against me

Batu Kitang candidate: Don’t use my grandma against meKUCHING: DAP’s Batu Kitang candidate Abdul Aziz Isa slammed SUPP’s Lo Khere Chiang for dragging his grandmother, Mazuyin Abd Manan, into the election campaign.

Labelling it as a form of “dirty politics”, Abdul Aziz accused Lo, who is also contesting in the constituency, for recruiting Mazuyin to smear his reputation.

Last week, Mazuyin made a surprise appearance at Lo’s ceramah in Batu Kitang, condemning her grandson’s move to contest under the Opposition’s banner and pledged her support to SUPP.

Mazuyin had also called on the people  not to vote for Abdul Aziz.

Abdul Aziz advised Lo to be more mature when fishing for votes.

“I would like to ask him to be a gentleman. He is already 56 years old, more than double my age,” the 26-year-old said at a press conference.

Pesent was DAP Sarawak Chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Abdul Aziz said it would have been better for Lo to debate him on policies instead of “using” his 75-year-old grandmother.

He went on to state that differing political views among family members were a common occurrence.

“The same goes for my grandmother. She’s a strong Barisan Nasional supporter and, naturally, I can’t convince her to vote for DAP.”

Chong echoed similar sentiments, saying that people from different generations may have clashing political ideologies and accused Lo of capitalising on this situation to his advantage.

“I think Lo owes Abdul Aziz an apology for resorting to such low tactics.

“Lo is much older, yet he doesn’t have any political maturity.”