KUCHING, May 17: Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot, the only elected Member of Parliament from Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), refuted rumours that he intended to join a Pakatan Harapan component party, but remained mum whether he will stay put with SUPP.
“I am not a ‘katak’ (frog). I will not betray my people (who voted for me). My loyalty is with Abang Jo (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg),” he told DayakDaily today.
However, when asked whether he will sink or swim with SUPP at this challenging time, he said: “That one I will not comment for now.”
He said he was not present at the recent SUPP Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting because he was with SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting attending the Barisan Nasional meeting in West Malaysia.
The seven-term Serian MP said he is still talking to SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and secretary-general Ting, but there are too many “different opinions” in the CWC which he could not be bothered with at this moment.
“I don’t want to say anything bad about my own party, DAP (Democratic Action Party) or PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat),” he said when refuting the rumours of him joining PKR.
The former Human Resources Minister said the same rumours had appeared after the 2008 general election, and the same rumours are now circulating again claiming that he had jumped ship which were totally baseless and contrary to his principles.
He stressed that it’s important to stay united and claim back Sarawak’s rights as under the Malaysian Agreement 1963 as he is a Sarawakian.
Appearing fit and well when met at a shopping mall here today, Riot said he is taking a well-deserved “rest” now, but he will remain in politics for at least another term due to the overwhelming support from the ground.
In the recent polls, Riot defended the Serian parliamentary seat in a three-cornered fight by polling a 9,905-vote majority against Edward Andrew Luwak (DAP) and independent candidate Senior William Rade.
SUPP only retained Serian out of the seven parliamentary constituencies they contested. The state’s oldest political party had failed to wrest back six other urban seats they lost to DAP.
Meanwhile, state PKR chairman Baru Bian denied that they had received an application form from Riot to join the party.
Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had asked Baru not to accept Riot into PKR’s fold as Riot’s political secretary Datuk Peter Runin was recently released on bail for allegedly being involved in a RM40 million scandal involving funds from the Human Resources Ministry. — DayakDaily