Who will be the BN candidate for Stampin parliamentary seat?

Abang Johari (left) and Dr Sim at the launch of SRI at SUPP headquarters here.

KUCHING, April 7: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian has hinted that he would not be the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for Stampin parliamentary seat.

“I am already a state assemblyman and a senator. We will announce the candidate at the right time,” he told reporters after the launch of Sehati Research Institute (SRI) at SUPP headquarters here yesterday. His term for senator will only end in May 2020.

There have been rumours that Dr Sim will be BN’s candidate for Stampin as he is the only candidate who would be able to win back the seat from the opposition. However, Dr Sim said that SUPP is not a one-man party and suggested that the media ask Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for the name of the candidate instead.

Stampin was an SUPP stronghold until last the last general election when long-term former Stampin MP Datuk Yong Khoon Seng was defeated by Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) new face Julian Tan with a majority of over 18,000 votes. DAP has announced that medical practitioner Dr Kelvin Yii will be their candidate as Tan will not be defending his seat.

Nevertheless, Dr Sim stressed that SUPP will contest in seven seats in the upcoming polls, there will be no direct BN candidates and candidates contesting in those seats will use SUPP’s logo.

He is confident they could win more seats in the upcoming polls and urged voters to make the right choice, as Sarawak needs bigger representation in order to negotiate with Putrajaya on devolution of power.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari urged SUPP to remain unperturbed by the opposition’s criticism on the state government’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) and digital economy projects.

He stressed that it is better to focus on implementing all these projects that will benefit Sarawakians in the long run, as the opposition clearly did not understand these economic policies.

“DAP has kept on criticising the LRT project saying that I am bluffing,” he said during the launch of SRI.

He said he would ignore all these negative criticisms as he would focus on these development projects and SUPP clearly knew what the state government was doing, unlike DAP.

The SRI is a non-profit organisation established to conduct socioeconomic research for the betterment of society. A seminar titled “One Belt One Road Initiative: Sarawak’s Challenges and Opportunities” was held in conjunction with the launch of SRI.

Abang Johari hoped that more research beneficial to Sarawak could be carried out in the future, such as on orchid species in Sarawak, which will take time. — DayakDaily