By Roselind Jarrow
KUCHING: The Bengoh Branch of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) has questioned the party’s decision to appoint an outsider as chairman of the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP).
“We are deeply disappointed with party leaders for not appointing Bengoh state assemblyman Dr Jerip Susil,” said Chong Jit Leong, secretary of the youth section of the branch. “It seems that SUPP headquarters did not appreciate the contributions made by the Bengoh branch.”
Jerip is the current chairman of the branch. Chong said he deserved to be the municipal chairman because he was a local and had served as assemblyman since 2001.
“The decision is not fair,” he said. “Why are we being ignored?”
SUPP president George Chan last week announced the appointment of engineer Lo Khere Chiang as the new chairman of the municipal.
Lo is considered as an outsider as he is the secretary of SUPP’s Kota Sentosa branch. Before his appointment was announced, pundits had been mentioning Jerip’s name and that of his branch secretary Liu Thin Leong as favourites for the municipal chairmanship. Liu is active in Chinese education.
Chong said: “SUPP Bengoh now is not represented in any important post since none of its favoured candidates is appointed assistant minister or MPP chairman.”
He called on SUPP to rectify the situation, saying the party would otherwise lose support in the coming state election.
Bengoh is one of the two constituencies with a Bidayuh majority. The other is Opar. Both were given to SUPP to contest in the last election.
Chong’s fears are not without ground as PKR has been aggressively working in the two constituencies, which are among 29 Dayak seats that PKR is eyeing for the next election.
Peter Minos, a Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu leader, said SUPP should not abandon the economically disadvantaged, especially the Bidayuhs, who are the majority group in Padawan.
“They need development and better infrastructure,” he said, adding that MPP should have given the chairman’s job to Jerip because he is a Bidayuh and knows the needs of the people better.