Sarawak politics: Who in SUPP will benefit the most from direct election for leadership posts?

Posted on August 24, 2011


When the British elections were held in 2010, the most interesting moment for me came during the campaigning period, when a series of televised debates were held for the leading candidates for the Prime Minister’s post.

Such an event (I mean the televised debates) had never, ever been held in a British election campaign before and when the dust finally settled, it was quite obvious that of the three leading contenders, the leader of the smallest party came out the biggest winner.

For the leader of the Conservative party and the Labour party, the debates were a total waste of time.

The two could actually have attended more high impact campaigning activities, which they normally would have done, had they not been pressured to take part in the debates.

The leader of the  Liberal Democrats though, could not have been happier that the two bigger parties decided to join the televised circus.

As we all now know, David Cameron became Prime Minister (through a coalition government); and Gordon Brown never got a chance to become a Prime Minister elected by the people (FYI, he became PM due to the fact that Tony Blair stepped down as leader of the party).

And as for dear ol’ Nick Clegg, he is now the British Deputy Prime Minister.

Not bad for being a good debater on TV, don’t you think?

Closer to home, I feel that we might actually get a slim chance see the local equivalent of those historic televised British election campaign debates.

I’m referring to, of course, the direct election that has been proposed for SUPP’s leadership positions for the party’s Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) this December.

Within SUPP, I’m sure party members have a rough idea of the outcome of December’s TDC if the present two-tier election system stays put.

The serious contenders are campaigning hard even as we speak, and are more than ready to assume the mantle as the next party president and/or other senior positions…after they get through the two-tier election system, of course.

But if direct elections were allowed? How?

I did like what SUPP vice-president Datuk Yong Khoon Seng told The Borneo Post when he said he believed a direct election would help boost the morale of delegates and create a new image for the party.

For the time being though the direct elections idea may already be dead in the water.

Sure, there’s a lot of red tape to overcome if you seriously wanted to do it, you could definitely do it….but seriously…who in SUPP would actually want direct elections, anyway? Seriously.

I’m sure Nick Clegg would have some interesting thoughts about that.



‘Direct election proposal an idea worth pursuing’

August 23, 2011, Tuesday

KUCHING: Amendments to the party’s constitution is required before the proposal for direct election for its leadership can be considered, said a SUPP insider yesterday.

“The proposal has to be agreed upon by the delegates during the Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC). But even if it is agreed upon, the party will still need to submit the proposal to the Registrar of Societies (RoS).”

The insider said this when asked to comment on a news report yesterday which quoted SUPP vice-president Datuk Yong Khoon Seng as urging the party to consider emulating Umno and MCA in having direct election.

Yong said he believed a direct election would help boost the morale of delegates and create a new image for the party.

The insider added that it was most unlikely for the proposed direct election to take place during the party’s TDC this coming December due to the long processes the proposal had to go through.

In the present two-tier election system, the central committee members select their central working committee (CWC) members, who will later decide on leadership posts, including that of the president.

Meanwhile, a senior party leader, when contacted by The Borneo Post, said he had no objection to the idea of direct election so long as it was constitutionally done and carried out based on general consensus.

However party president Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, when contacted by See Hua Daily News, declined to comment.