Friday, April 19

Prominent businessman eyes SUPP Piasau top post


MIRI: Prominent businessman and philanthropist Hii King Chiong yesterday announced his decision to go for the
SUPP Piasau chairman post during branch elections next month.

Hii King Chiong

The present chairman of SUPP Piasau, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, announced he was stepping down shortly after he was defeated by a DAP political novice Alan Ling Sie Kiong during the April 16 state election.

Prior to the election, Dr Chan, who is also SUPP chairman, was holding the following portfolios – Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of Industrial Development, and Minister of Tourism and Heritage.

In a statement to party comrades and made available to the press, Hii said he was inspired by calls from loyal members and supporters that the party must be united and that urgent and speedy reforms were badly needed.

“The support from the various grassroots units,
from within and outside the party, has inspired my decision to contest for the chairmanship post. I seek to confront all difficulties with reinforced strength and collaboration with leaders of other party branches,” he said.

Hii, who is the group managing director of the Kingwood Group of Companies, and executive chairman of Fonsen Timber Sdn Bhd, is involved in diversified business activities including construction, timber, and plantation.

SUPP Piasau Youth chief declares support for Hii

The chorus of support for him to helm SUPP Piasau gathered momentum in recent months.

On Sept 30, SUPP Piasau Youth chief Keith Chin declared his support for Hii to run for the chairman post during a press conference in Mega Hotel.

The branch’s deputy chairman is political secretary to the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Sebastian Ting, who was tipped to contest in the Miri constituency in the next general election.
Hii revealed that he was not jumping into the political fray empty handed. In fact, he said, he already had a detailed plan under his sleeve.

“I have a detailed plan to allow all levels of people – the elderly, the middle-aged, and the younger generation, to break free from the paternalistic way of doing things and to allow them (people) the freedom to make nominations and have the freedom to choose their own leaders,” he said.
Hii added that he relished facing difficulties ahead, and would work closely with party leaders in order to help rejuvenate the party with honour and integrity.

“Despite the harsh criticisms on the streets and from within that SUPP is on the verge of political bankruptcy, we, the younger generation, sees an earnest hope for revival. We will not bicker about the political circus that is happening within and outside our party,” he stressed. Hii made it clear that accusations hurled against the younger generation for being too aggressive in trying to wrest power would not break their beliefs that SUPP has “good, honest roots and ideals”.

The younger generation of leaders, he said, was very focused on restoring the party by returning authority to party members.

On the conundrum that some party leaders were against active participation of entrepreneurs in the party but at the same time welcomed big corporations to come in to provide financial aid, Hii said the younger generation viewed it as “a paradox”.

“We cannot deny that development and prosperity in any given place is always driven by the private sector. Likewise, it also applies to our party, and we have to foster a good relationship with entrepreneurs and respect their contributions to the society,” he reasoned.

SUPP, he said, must reform to win back the confidence of the voters, or face “disastrous consequences”.

Appealing to party members to allow him and the reform-centric team to be elected, he said their mission was to save the party and serve the people and society more effectively.

“We (SUPP) might have lost some battles, but we have not lost the war,” he pointed out.

With only Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and Datuk Lee Kim Shin representing the Chinese community in the State Cabinet, Hii said the party must strengthen its political participation, maintain good relations with all BN component parties, share political authority, and be dignified leaders with regards to the livelihood of the people, educational rights, and land matters.