By Shikin Louis
KUCHING, Nov 26: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) incumbent president Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian is expected to contest for another term next year, exceeding the nine-year limit as laid down in the party’s constitution.
This came following the approval of SUPP’s Central Working Committee (CWC) in its meeting yesterday (Nov 25) and the party’s Delegates’ Conference today (Nov 26).
Speaking to reporters after the Delegates’ Conference at SUPP’s headquarters here, Dr Sim explained that the party’s constitution provides that the tenure of the party president is limited to 3 three-year terms, with a maximum of 9 years.
However, the party on Dec 4, 2022, amended its constitution to allow its incumbent president to apply to contest for the presidency beyond the 9-year limit, provided that not less than half of SUPP’s CWC members present at the CWC Meeting, and not less than half of the Delegates present at the Delegates Conference, voted in favour for the incumbent president’s nomination to contest.
“Thus, I’m very grateful to CWC members and the delegates today after they all consented and agreed unanimously to let me contest for another term from 2025 to 2027.
“They have stated their reason (to retain the presidency) was because 2026 is State election and 2027 is federal election.
“Next year will be my ninth year because I took over in 2014. The party constitution was changed in 2015 (to limit the presidential tenure) and if I do not get the approval (of SUPP’s CWC and Delegates) this year, I cannot contest in the party’s election next year,” he said.
Dr Sim has been the party president since September 2014 with the last party election held on May 22, 2022 where he retained his post uncontested.
At the same time, SUPP’s Delegates’ Conference 2023 had passed a 10-point resolution submitted by the party branches.
In the resolution, SUPP called upon the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leadership to explicitly reject any attempt, whether internal or external, that may create division, uneasiness, or strain within the GPS alliance.
Secondly, the party called upon both federal and State governments to initiate a comprehensive review and execute a range of measures aimed at mitigating the negative repercussions of the escalating cost of living.
Thirdly, it called upon the federal government to implement comprehensive legislation to safeguard individuals’ digital rights, protect personal digital privacy, and ensure that the utilisation of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) is both ethical and lawful.
The fourth point called upon the Sarawak government to continue to subsidise electricity bills and not just end the assistance in December 2023.
The party also called upon the Sarawak government to accelerate demands with regards to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) particularly on health autonomy, education autonomy, special annual grant to Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, and 35 per cent of parliamentary seats for the Borneo States.
Next, the party pledged its support towards the Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on Digital and Green Economy as well as Sarawak Sovereign Fund initiatives.
The party also pledged to share Sarawak’s wealth on education, healthcare and social net for elderly, and expand housing assistance such as Housing Deposit Assistance Scheme (HDAS) and Sarawak Rental Assistance Scheme (SRAS).
The eighth point of the resolution called for no unilateral decision by GPS component parties which could affect the very core of GPS’ success formula which is unity and stability.
The party also pledged to uphold the “Sarawak First” spirit by providing quota for Sarawakians to have opportunities in the Digital and Green Economy.
Last but not least, the party called upon the Sarawak government to increase monthly household income by promoting and assisting industries that will create innovative, high skill and knowledge-driven job opportunities.
Also present during the event were SUPP deputy presidents Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem and Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin; secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting and treasurer Datuk Francis Harden Hollis. — DayakDaily