Riot skipped function to attend funeral of ILP student — Close aide

Riot (middle) talks to the relatives of the deceased.

KUCHING: A close aide of Human Resources Minister Dato Sri Richard Riot Jaem yesterday denied talks of the minister being upset and deliberately skipping a function here on Monday.

He explained that Riot could not attend the event organised by Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) because he (Riot) had to rush to Kampung Triboh, Serian for the funeral of an Insititut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) student.

“The minister spent about two hours with members of the family who included Kampung Triboh village chief Albert Moni Igang and the deceased’s uncle, JPJ (Road Transport Department) Serian second in command Sylvester Chundang,” said the close aide.

He said ILPs, which are skills learning centres under Riot’s ministry, are close to the heart of the six-term Serian MP and that Riot had on many occasions urged parents in Serian to consider sending their children to ILPs due to higher employability rate upon graduation.

The deceased Randy Macklyn was a student of ILP Samarahan. He died in a road accident a few days ago.

“The student from Triboh was among scores of youths who took the challenge to go for industrial training. The minister could not help feeling down over his demise.”

“Yesterday (Monday) was the second time the minister came to pay his last respects for a student of an ILP. The first time was last year when a Melaka ILP student from Kpg Koran was also killed in a road accident,” he said.

He said among those accompanying Riot were Social Security Organisation (Socso) board member Leong Pit Wee, Socso Serian manager Terence Tikok and Serian Labour Department and the minister’s special officers Awang Landon, Robert Dapan and Hillary Awan.

“The minister gave personal cash donation while those accompanying him passed the hat around to help with the funeral expenses,” said the close aide again.

Riot was scheduled to attend and speak at the at the launch of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4) Initiatives in Sarawak by the HRDF.

It was launched by Assistant Minister of E-Commerce Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais on behalf of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who was supposed to represent Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the event.

Nonetheless, Riot prepared a montage speech which was aired at the start of the function, where he stressed on the importance of Sarawakians being aware of and prepared for the challenges of this new era of IR4.

Riot also said he generally supported the statement made by Abang Johari that Sarawak needs to be involved for digital technology to be able to create healthy competition with neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Riot, MP for Serian since 1990, has stated publicly his readiness to defend the seat again in the next parliamentary election, although he has been embroiled in political uncertainties following a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) case involving his now former political secretary Major (Rtd) Datuk Peter Runin.

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