KUCHING: SUPP newly elected deputy president Datuk Richard Riot refused to be drawn into a discussion on a resolution adopted a t the party’s recent triennial delegates conference which stipulates that the secretary-general would take over the helm if the president stepped down or was unable to continue.
That resolution effectively removed any chance of Riot becoming president, making his achievement of being elected the party’s first Bumiputera deputy president rather hollow.
Many view his position in the party as mere window dressing to assuage the bumiputera members.
Riot, who is also Deputy Foreign Minister, said he did not care what post he was holding in the party as his main focus now was to be re-nominated by Barisan Nasional (BN) to defend the Serian parliamentary seat.
Riot, the five-term MP, said this yesterday when told that there were murmurs on the ground that he had been played out by the party and used as a pawn to counter allegations that the new leadership led by Datuk Seri Peter Chin had sidelined Bumiputera members in its top posts line-up.
“My focus now is to get re-nominated by BN to defend Serian, and I will not deviate from that direction.”
When asked if he thought the deputy president post is just a window dressing, Riot said: “The post is secondary.”
Meanwhile, Engkilili asemblyman Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa said the Registrar of Societies (ROS) should look into the resolution which elevated the secretary-general into the second most powerful position ahead of the deputy president.
When asked on the disappointment among party Bumiputera members that the constitution was changed to ensure no Bumiputera member would lead the party, Dr Rayong said it was not unexpected since Riot was a ‘lone ranger’, being the only Dayak member in Chin’s central committee line-up.
Dr Rayong said he and four other state assemblymen namely Datuk Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang), Datuk Lee Kim Shin (Senadin), Dr Jerip Susil (Bengoh) and Ranum Mina (Opar) and MP Datuk Tiong Thai King (Lanang) were still siding SUPP Sibu branch chairman Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.
Dr Rayong also claimed that Riot initially was with Wong but changed his mind at the eleventh hour before the TDC.
Riot was once a member of the now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) but joined SUPP in 1993.
Another SUPP Bumiputera assemblyman Dr Jerip Susil said Riot should have known he would never be given any real power in the party, saying “All along it is like that and if he does not know, he is naive.”
Dr Jerip added that by accepting the deputy president post Riot had betrayed Bumiputera members in SUPP as the new leadership was merely making use of him as a window dressing.