SIBU: The poor showing of the Sarawak United People’s Party in the 10th state election has left the Chinese with no more than two representatives in the state government. Assuming that the state government decides to preserve the Chinese quota, SUPP deputy secretary-general Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is likely to take over as deputy chief minister from party president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who was defeated in Piasau. Wong, a minister in the last cabinet who won in Bawang Assan, is the more senior of the two successful Chinese candidates from SUPP.
The other candidate, Datuk Lee Kim Shim, who scrapped through in Senadin, is likely to be promoted to full minister. SUPP had two ministers and four assistant ministers in the previous administration. If the quota is retained, the other four SUPP candidates who won in the election will be made assistant ministers.
But the four are all Bumiputeras: Ranum Mina in Opar, Dr Jerip Susil in Bengoh, Dr Johnical Rayong in Engkilili and Datuk Francis Harden Hollis in Simanggang.
And what about change in the party? This had been much talked about by SUPP leaders, including Dr Chan, who is not the first SUPP president to be defeated by the DAP. His immediate predecessor, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Wong Soon Kai, was trounced by Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng in Bukit Assek in 1996. Analyst Ong Kian Ming of UCSI University said that SUPP had not been able to deflect the attack on Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
He said that SUPP had also failed to respond to “changes in the urban political landscape.” Dr Chan has not indicated that he will resign as party president. If he decides to stay on, he will probably give the reason that he wants to supervise changes in the party. The danger for SUPP is that the Chinese will look at such a situation as “the same old story.” — Bernama