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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 24: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has confirmed Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian will defend the Batu Kawah seat in the upcoming 12th Sarawak Election.
Abang Johari hinted this during his address at the groundbreaking ceremony for the State’s second Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) multi-fuel station at MJC, Batu Kawa here yesterday.
“Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is the Minister for Local Government and Housing and former Batu Kawah assemblyman, will continue to become the elected representative for Batu Kawah,” he said.
Dr Sim, who is the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president, wrested the Batu Kawah seat from Democratic Action Party (DAP) after defeating incumbent Christina Chiew and independent candidate Liu Thian Leong in the 11th Sarawak Election in 2016 as a candidate from the then State Barisan Nasional led by the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
In the constituency with 62 per cent Chinese and 36 per cent Bumiputera voters then, Dr Sim, a cardiologist, polled 6,414 votes to win by a majority of 2,085 votes. Chiew garnered 4,329 votes while Liu had 1,109 votes.
Batu Kawah was one of the closely-watched contests in what was then the biggest election in recent Sarawak history with the battlefield expanded from 71 to 82 seats, while SUPP, Sarawak’s oldest political party strived to make a comeback from its 2011 setback at the hands of opposition parties.
In the 2011 election, the party was almost wiped out, losing 13 out of the 19 seats it was contesting throughout Sarawak. In Kuching alone, it lost all five seats it was contesting to the opposition.
In 2011, Dr Sim who is the son of former Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister the late Datuk Amar Sim Kheng Hong, contested in Pending constituency for the first time and lost in a straight fight to DAP candidate Violet Yong.
Since 2016, he has facilitated various development projects to Batu Kawah including the Riverbank Park that has become the newest city landmark with a sky window overlooking Sungai Moyan, a new sports and community hall which is being constructed with an innovation hub to transform the abandoned Ang Cheng Ho quarry near Jalan Datuk Stephen Yong and the newly launched Sri Pertiwi Affordable Housing Project.
Apart from these, upgrading projects and basic facilities such as mosques, surau, temples, community halls and sports courts as well as infrastructure such as roads and drainage systems have been built. — DayakDaily