Hornbill Unleashed

October 27, 2011

Peter Chin ups the ante in the SUPP supremo-race

Peter Chin ups the ante in the SUPP supremo-raceLee Ryujin

The presidential race for SUPP has suddenly picked-up steam with Miri MP Peter Chin Fah Kui’s decision to contest the party’s top post.

Chin, 66, was previously thought to be less interested in state politics. A federal minister in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Cabinet, Chin holds the Energy, Green Technology and Water portfolio and has managed to win some national profile – albeit on the negative side over Malaysia’s nuclear power plants and the Selangor water deal.

Impressive show of support

Some see in his shift back to the nerve centre of Sarawak state politics the hidden hand of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who may fear that the existing SUPP old guard will not be able to convince the Chinese there that they are a better choice than the thriving and dynamic DAP.

Should Chin win the SUPP presidency, it’s a cinch he will have to return and spend more time in Sarawak. He may even have to give up his federal duties. All eyes are also on whether he will cast his eyes on a state assembly seat and whose?  But until he wins, Chin is keeping mum. What he has to show though is the impressive support he has received from as many as 306 grassroot leaders coming from 33 branches during a meeting at the party’s headquarters last week.

According to Chin, a lawyer by training, he was persuaded to throw his name in-the-pot as it was difficult for him to deny the wishes of the leaders who arrived in full-force to attend the meeting. “The grassroots think it is inappropriate for me to shy away from this responsibility and challenged me to accept it and lead the party,” said Chin.

In a move reminiscent of a ‘check’ in a chess game, Chin has claimed the majority of the support from the southern zone of Kuching, Serian and Sri Aman, therefore commanding the highest number of delegates of around 250. This accounts for almost half of the total 600 odd delegates. The others being the northern and central zones.

Competition dynamics change
State Local Government and Community Development Minister and Bawang Assan assemblyman Woon Soon Koh had fired the first salvo, announcing his intention to become president in Sibu last week.

Soon Koh, 67, also the SUPP deputy secretary-general, had expected to bulldoze his way towards the party’s top post at the TDC in December against contender and party treasurer David Teng, but now with Chin’s unexpected but brilliant move, he is likely to have to sweat for it.

Teng, on the other hand could even stand aside to allow a two-way battle between Soon Koh and Chin. Perhaps, even become Chin’s running-mate, come December.

Some political observers mentioned the possibility of a Peter Chin-Richard Riot combo, which might bode well with the Bumiputera delegates. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and also Serian MP Richard Riot Jaem, who was outraged when he was brushed aside by Soon Koh, could well be ‘the Joker’ in the deck for Chin.

Soon Koh had announced that Senadin assemblyman and Assistant Minister of Social Development and Communications, Lee Kim Shin would be his running mate. This did not go well with Riot who felt that he or another Bumiputera should be allowed to contest for the vice presidency.

Soon Koh had said earlier that “It is the general feeling amongst our supporters that although SUPP is a multi-racial party, its key leaders must come from the Chinese community. But of course Bumiputra leaders can someday go for the two top posts as well,” he added.

Chinese-first may return to bite Soon Koh

With Soon Koh’s ‘Chinese-only’ view of things, the idea of a Peter Chin-Richard Riot campaign could come up tops. Currently four out of the six state assemblymen are Bumiputera.

The race to be president is not for the faint-hearted; much is at stake. For the victor, there is power and glory in resource rich Sarawak, plus the likelihood of being made the Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister II. But for the loser, the possibility of losing everything beckons. If luck has it, the loser could be made redundant; his party position reduced to just that of an ordinary member, and worse; have his ‘face’ and ego publicly shattered.

Come Dec 8 to 11, the 600 delegates will decide the presidency at the TDC. On paper, it looks like Chin now holds the upper hand with an estimated support of 250 delegates from the southern zone, dwarfing the 100 or so Soon Koh supporters from the central zone. And considering that Chin is from Miri, in the northern region, it looks like he is calling all the shots.

With current SUPP president Dr George Chan Hong Nam already out of the equation, your guess is as good as mine as to who comes out of the ‘frying pan’ alive. In politics you’ll never know; but usually the one who laughs-last laughs-loudest! And likely, the winner will win by a ‘checkmate’.


  1. Let’s ignore these Taib cronies completely and let them fade into obscurity.
    Are they furthering the welfare of the peoples of sarawak or just supporting Taib’s massive corruption for self interest?

    Comment by Alan Newman, NZ — October 29, 2011 @ 10:04 PM | Reply

  2. In return for approving such a dubious mega projek, UMNO surely support Peter Chin big time this time around lah

    Thursday, 15 April 2010 – 07:32pm
    Session: May-August

    Date: Monday, 22 June 2009

    Minta MENTERI TENAGA, TEKNOLOGI HIJAU, DAN AIR [PETER CHIN] menyatakan mengapakah Nishimatsu Construction Company yang sedang disiasat berhubung dakwaan rasuah di Jepun dan beberapa tahun lalu dituduh cuai dalam satu projek pembinaan di Singapura diberikan kontrak besar RM1.3 bilion bagi membina saluran paip air bawah tanah dari Pahang ke Selangor.

    Tuan Yang Dipertua,

    Untuk makluman Ahli Yang Berhormat, komponen pembinaan terowong bagi Projek Penyaluran Air Mentah Pahang Ke Selangor telah ditawarkan secara tender terbuka. Pembida bagi komponen ini telah dinilai berpandukan Tatacara Perolehan Kerajaan dan Guidelines for Procurement Under JBIC ODA Loans 1999. Nishimatsu Construction Company bersama Shimizu-UEMB-IJM telah menyertai tender ini dan didapati memenuhi kriteria tender yang telah ditetapkan. Oleh yang demikian, syarikat berkenaan telah ditawarkan kontrak bagi melaksanakan komponen tersebut.

    Water tunnel project to start next Monday
    By MAZWIN NIK ANIS, The Star Tuesday May 26, 2009

    PUTRAJAYA: Work on a 44.6km-long tunnel to transfer almost two million litres of water daily from Pahang to Selangor will start next Monday.

    The Federal Government project will meet the needs of consumers for water in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya until the year 2025 at a cost of RM3.936bil.

    Project director Datuk Ismail Mat Noor said the tunnel, which alone cost around RM1.3bil to build, was the first and “most critical” component in the project and would take five years to complete.

    Ismail said work would commence in Karak in Pahang and end in Hulu Langat, Selangor before 1.9 million litres of water could be transferred daily.

    “We have planned to start the project on June 1,” he told reporters at a signing ceremony for the construction of the tunnel yesterday, which was witnessed by Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui.

    The project has been awarded to a consortium of four companies – IJM Corp Bhd, UEM Builders, Shimizu Corporation and Nishimatsu Construction Co. Ltd.

    Construction of the project’s other three components – the Klau Dam, a raw water pump station and water pipes – is expected to commence in March next year.

    Ismail said once completed, Selangor would pay RM80mil a year to the Pahang government for water.

    A large part of the project will be financed through loans by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while the rest is funded by a Federal Government grant.

    Chin said the government was confident that Nishimatsu would play its part in ensuring the project be carried out without any glitch.

    He said the question of public confidence should not arise as the Government was sure the company “can do the job and do it well.”

    “If we are not confident of them, we would not have selected them,” he said, responding to questions over the selection of the controversy-plagued Nishimatsu for the project.

    The Japanese construction company is said to be involved in a political controversy back home and was held responsible for the collapse of a 100m rail tunnel in Singapore in 2004.

    Comment by Dayakologist — October 28, 2011 @ 3:10 PM | Reply

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