KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) deputy president Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem clarifies that he has no intention of fighting for the presidency of the party but is willing to step up to the post only as a last resort to end the internal feud besetting the party and if the members give him the blessing to do so.
“I’m willing to be president with the consent and blessings from the members and only as a last resort. But don’t think that I’m interested and overly ambitious (to take up the post). I’m already very happy with what I am now,” he said in a press conference after officiating at the state-level Minimum Wages Clinic at Islamic Information Centre here.
Riot, who is SUPP Serian branch chairman and Human Resources minister, was referring to his statement published yesterday that he was prepared to take over the party’s top post.
“If the two groups (Tan Sri Peter Chin’s and Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh’s factions) cannot see eye-to-eye and reconcile, and if the delegates think why not try Richard Riot becoming the president, I’m ready to consider but of course, if the delegates want me.”
Asked if he had ever held talk with Chin about his plan, Riot said: “I may do so but not as yet. The most important thing now is concentrate on the upcoming state election.”
Riot stressed that if he were to become president of the party he would resign after one term if he failed in his duties.
On the prospect of reconciliation between the two feuding factions, said he disagreed with the statement by certain quarters that there was no chance for reconciliation as the “bridge has been burnt”.
He added that party’s Central Working Committee had always wanted Wong’s faction to go back to be part of the party.
“When people say that the bridge has been burnt, I think this statement should not have been said because in politics, you will never have permanent friends and enemies and we were never enemies.”
Riot said he totally agreed with Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud that all state Barisan Nasional component parties must consolidate unity to face the next state election.
When asked whether he had talked with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to plead with him not to deregister SUPP, Riot said: “No and to be very frank, as a party man, I have to respect my party president. If only he gives me the blessing to do so, I will do so but so far I have not been given the blessing to talk to Zahid.”
Asked where he would place himself if SUPP was deregistered, he responded, “We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it. I have not decided and I don’t think SUPP will be deregistered”.
Riot also dismissed suggestions of him joining SPDP, PRS or even bringing in Peninsular-based Gerakan into the state, stating he did not see the necessity to bring in political parties from Peninsular Malaysia as the state BN, with PBB as its backbone, is strong enough.
“Since BN is strong and Sarawak is fixed deposit and will still be fixed deposit for BN in coming years, why do we need to rock the boat when we are already strong?.” - theborneopost