KUCHING, Jan 16 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) must go all-out to engage young people as the 15th general elections (GE15) will be a challenge in light of Undi18 (lowering the voting age from 21 to 18) and automatic voters registration (AVR) coming into effect, said Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The SUPP president and Deputy Chief Minister said the party must go the extra mile to reach out to the youths given that young people “are decisive” compared to the older generations.
He said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was grateful that it won 76 out of the 82 seats contested in the last state polls but it would never take for granted that the young people had given GPS a chance to lead.
“The young people are decisive, so we need to work hard. (Serian MP Dato Sri) Richard Riot (Jaem) is lonely in Parliament. We need to fight back in the coming GE15.
“We must make sure that there will be more SUPP MPs so that Datuk Sri Richard Riot is not lonely, so that no one is able to bully Sarawak again,” he said at the SUPP annual delegates conference 2021 at the party’s headquarters here today.
In the 2018 general elections, SUPP won just one out of the seven parliamentary seats contested.
The oldest political party in Sarawak lost Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Lanang and Sibu to Democratic Action Party as well as Miri to Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government, said SUPP must also start looking at 2027 as he believed that more new seats will be expected.
“We need to act beyond what it is now. We’ve got lots of work to do inside the party.”
He said the Dec 18 polls last year indicated that the people of Sarawak had decisively rejected Peninsula-based party.
According to him, SUPP won some of the state seats because Chinese voters are coming back to support the party, but some Bumiputera voters did not maintain their support.
He pointed out that if all the opposition votes were combined, the party might not be able to win as many seats as it did.
In the 12th state election, SUPP won 13 out of the 18 seats contested, many of which saw multi-cornered fights with major opposition parties Parti Sarawak Bersatu, Democratic Action Party and Parti Keadilan Rakyat locking horns with each other.
Given this, Dr Sim called on party leaders, members and especially the elected representatives to be always on the ground to address issues faced by the community.
He said SUPP had been placing the welfare and interest of the people of Sarawak above all since its inauguration in 1949.
“People always come first, if not for this, SUPP will not be here since 1949. SUPP won 13 out of the 18 seats contested last state election.
“It is time to get down to work because I want you (elected representatives) to keep your promises so that people know that SUPP can be relied upon.
“I want all leaders in SUPP to perform and not resort to playing politics. We do not need members who keep saying they love the party but the heart never loves the party,” he added. — Borneo Post