KUCHING, June 4 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) warned Sarawakians that a non-native may eventually become the state’s chief minister if they back “outside” parties in the next state election, in reference to DAP and PKR.
Playing the state rights card, SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian also asserted that backing these parties would lead to further erosion of Sarawak’s independence and autonomy.
“If you look at Sabah, a nominated assemblyman is from Penang. It is no more Sabah for Sabahans, but Penang for Sabahans,” he told reporters after attending SUPP’s 60th flag raising ceremony at the party headquarters here.
He said many qualified Sabahans could have been chosen but were overlooked in favour of the outsider.
Dr Sim, who is also Sarawak’s local government and housing minister, was responding to the recent appointment of Loh Er Eng from Penang as a nominated assemblyman in Sabah’s state legislature.
According to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Sabah DAP recommended Loh for the appointment.
Loh, who is also Sabah DAP treasurer, has resided in Sabah for “a long time”.
Under the Sabah state constitution, the Governor, on the advice of the chief minister, may appoint not more than six nominated assemblymen as members of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly, who enjoy the same perks and privileges accorded to the elected assemblymen.
Dr Sim warned a state assembly “full of PKR and DAP people” would leave Sarawak vulnerable to further exploitation.
“They can amend the state constitution and take more of our rights, like immigration autonomy, because they are now controlling the federal government,” he said.
Unlike their peninsular counterparts, the Sarawak and Sabah chapters of both DAP and PKR are given autonomy to decide their local affairs.
In his speech at the ceremony, Dr Sim urged party members to re-examine what the party has been standing for over the last 60 years.
He said the party’s stand has always been for Sarawak, and not for members to seek personal glory, titles or positions.
He reminded the younger members of the past contributions and sacrifices made by the founder members, many of whom were detained by the authorities because they fought for Sarawak’s self-determination first before forming Malaysia.
He said what SUPP founder members had fought for in the past are now re-emerging after the present state leaders have realised that many state’s rights have been eroded.
“Now we are asking ourselves how come we lost so much power and rights? Even the Malaysia Agreement 1963 was not mentioned in the Malaysian Constitution,” he said.
Dr Sim said Barisan Nasional’s (BN) loss to Pakatan Harapan (PH) in last year’s general election has given an opportunity for the state government to voice out its grievances openly.
“When we were in the BN, we were told not to fight for Sarawak only. Now, we are on our own, we are free to speak out about our rights,” he said.
Sarawak must hold its next state election no later than 2021.