Pujut By-election: SUPP Opposed To Idea Of Choosing Direct Candidate

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 (Bernama) -- Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) remains firm on its principle of not supporting the idea of having direct candidates contesting on behalf of Barisan Nasional (BN), especially for the upcoming Pujut state seat by-election.

SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said if this was again practised, BN would appear no less like the opposition, which he claimed kept changing their 'alignment'.

"I've always said that we (SUPP) don't support BN's direct candidate, because whoever the BN direct candidate is, he has to resign (from his current party), so might as well join SUPP and maintain our BN spirit and principles," he told reporters at Parliament today after he took the oath as senator for the second term.

He was asked to comment on whether there was already a name chosen to contest on behalf of BN in the upcoming by-election.

In the last state election, direct candidates were chosen to stop the squabbling over seats between SUPP and its splinter group, United People's Party (UPP), and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras).

These BN direct candidates were from UPP and Teras, which are not part of the ruling coalition.

However, Sim said SUPP would leave the matter of candidate selection to the BN leaders, adding that the party had submitted a few names to Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg for consideration.

The Election Commission had set June 20 as nomination day and July 4 for polling.

The by-election is necessitated by the disqualification of DAP state assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon on May 12 by the State Legislative Assembly which had cited his alleged Australian citizenship.

Seventy BN representatives supported the motion tabled by state Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, who is also United People's Party (UPP) president, a state BN-friendly party, while all 10 members of the opposition voted against it.

In the 11th Sarawak state election held last year, Dr Ting won the Pujut seat with a majority of 1,759 votes, beating Datuk Hii King Chiong of BN, Jofri Jaraiee of PAS and independent candidate, Fong Pau Teck.