KUCHING: The Dayak representatives in the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) turned savior of the party but can they take control of the party?
The joke was that the Chinese based party is now the Dayak party following four of their representatives in the State Legislative Assembly were Dayak – two Ibans, two Bidayuhs and two Chinese.
The four Dayaks representatives from SUPP are Ranum Mina (Opar), Dr Jerip Susil (Bengoh), Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang) and Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili).
While for the Chinese representation only Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan) and Datuk Lee Khim Shin (Senadin) was lucky enough to retain their respective seat with reduced votes majority.
Soon Koh won with 1,808 votes majority while Khim Shin with only 58 votes majority.
As predicted earlier all the six Bidayuh seats were swept clean by the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the just concluded 10th Sarawak Election.
The Bidayuh voters also played their role in saving the ‘dilapidated’ Chinese based Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).
Although the Bidayuhs were very much against SUPP they still returned the party candidates Ranum Mina in Opar and Dr Jerip Susil in Bengoh as the State Assemblyman for both constituencies,
They voted for Ranum and Jerip because of their love to Barisan Nasional (BN) and not SUPP.
The six Bidayuh seats all won by BN were Opar, Tasik Biru, Bengoh, Tarat, Tebedu and Kedup.
Tarat, Tebedu and Kedup are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) seats while Tasik Biru is for Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).
“SUPP survived because of the Dayak seats but the question asked now is what would the Chinese leaders do for the Dayak after the election and if they still want to survive in the next election,” said Open University Malaysia (OUM) director Professor Dr Frank Kiong.
He said SUPP still get the Dayak votes in the just concluded stated election but not in the next election unless SUPP listen to the voice of the Dayaks and do something for the community.
He said by the next few years there will be more young registered Dayak voters and by then the Dayak voice will be heard.
Dr Frank who is also the president of the Bidayuh Graduates Association (BGA) said the younger generations of the Dayaks were more vocal following the many issues cropping and affecting the community.
Dr Frank said initially the Bidayuh support toward PKR was strong but after one by one of the problems crops, the real colour of the opposition party was exposed and the Bidayuh were confused.
He said PBB was able to retain all the Malay/Melanau seats because the leaders had brought a lot of development to the communities.
“This is because the older voters will again play the role as they are always staunch supporters of BN.
“That is already the attitude of the old people who always feel ‘berhutang budi” (indebted) to BN for bringing the development to their village and area,” he said.
According to Dr Frank the older voters always make comparison of the hard life during their younger days and the development taking place these days as well as the better living they are enjoying now.
For SNAP, Dr Frank said the opposition party really needs to clean its image.
“More professionals should be invited into the boat to get ready for the next election. Majority of the Dayak wants to revive the party but they wanted to see new and younger group of people leading the party,” he said.