Yesterday, I read in The Borneo Post that Dr Sim Kui Hian, SUPP’s fallen candidate in the constituency of Pending for the 10th Sarawak State Election, was out of a job.
I felt sorry for the good doctor.
But today I saw in the online version of the newspaper that SUPP president Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan was in fact willing to offer him a new job – as the new president of the party!
I’m not surprised that it has come to this though, because after all Dr Sim was the most exciting candidate (for me, at least) put up by SUPP in the just concluded polls.
That he managed to even get as many votes as he did, against the might of Malaya-based DAP’s highly organised and hugely effective campaign machinery was a victory in itself.
And don’t forget that he’s only been on the grounds for three weeks, at most. Compare that to how long the incumbent has been working in the area!
Even the young ones fielded by DAP had a higher chance of winning compared to Dr Sim, because they’ve actually been on the ground longer than him and they stood under a DAP ticket that seemed to be more “pro-Chinese” than SUPP, hence their popularity in the Chinese majority areas.
Malaya-based DAP may argue that they are not “pro-Chinese” but they don’t actually have to spout the words because the perception they’ve created is enough to turn it into a reality.
The DAP campaign was ruthless and relentless in its effectiveness and efficiency, and I give it credit for running a victorious campaign, although I don’t buy their promises or platform for a minute.
Anyway, I digress. Back to Dr Sim.
I wonder what’s going through his head right now?
If he accepts the job to be the new leader of the oldest political party in Sarawak, he knows that he will be facing a lot of hostility from within the organisation; hostiles in the form of senior party stalwarts, who have been waiting years and years to helm the organisation, even though at the moment the ship looks as if it has too many holes to plug.
If he accepts the job, to say that the task ahead is “daunting” would be an understatement, but I believe he would be able to do it if he was backed by a very strong, focused and determined team.
Whether he would need to “clean house” and get a totally new team behind him, would be another question.
That is IF he accepts the job!
I’m not sure if the party would be royally screwed if an old face were to lead the party on its journey of transformation, but it would definitely make the job easier.
For me, the important thing for SUPP right now is to get a strong leader who will stick to his own plan and not be swayed by factions from the north, south and/or central.
I think it’s time for a strong leader to lay down the law as to how the party should move forward because everyone – whether from within or outside the party – will be looking to this new president for inspiration and vision.
Is Dr Sim the right man for the job? Who knows?
All I know is I’d vote for him.
How The Borneo Post reported on SUPP’s succession plan (with graphics for added effect):
SUPP needs a totally new leader
by Lee Ya Yun. Posted on April 28, 2011, Thursday
Dr Chan believes present veteran leaders could not initiate the desired changes
KUCHING: SUPP president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan said he strongly believed that the party must be led by a totally new leader.
He reasoned that the existing crop of veterans would not be able to bring the desired change which the state’s oldest party badly needed.
The former deputy chief minister pointed out that by passing the baton to a new leader, it would help ensure that the party would not plunge into chaos.
“I really believe that all the veteran leaders should step down. If you let (Dato Sri) Wong Soon Koh (deputy secretary-general) to take over (as president) other members may not be happy.
“Similarly, some other members may not accept the decision if (Datuk) David Teng (treasurer) is to take over.
“Therefore, why not let a junior take over as president. Then the junior can work with other new leaders from Kuching, Sibu and Miri. Isn’t this a better solution?” he asked.
On the new president, Dr Chan said he believed Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian is a suitable candidate.
However, he added, more feedback from the ground were needed before Dr Sim could be given the mandate.
Meanwhile, SUPP vice-president Datuk Lily Yong said Dr Chan was entitled to his personal views about his successor.
“However, who is going to lead the party is not decided by one person but the whole party.
“I think we should stop speculating at the moment. The most important thing is to have another Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting to decide our next course of action,” she said.
In the April 16 polls, Dr Chan lost to DAP greenhorn Ling Sie Kiong by 1,590 votes.
Dr Sim, who was fielded in Pending, failed to help SUPP wrest back Pending from the DAP.
Incumbent Violet Yong defeated him by a majority of 7,595 votes.