Sunday, September 22

Man widely tipped to be new SMC deputy chairman

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SIBU: The new Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) deputy chairperson has been widely tipped to be a man.

The quota belongs to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB). It has been said that the former SMC deputy chairperson Rogayah Jamain did not wish to seek reappointment.

According to words from the grapevine, a male candidate would helm the number two seat in SMC, but no details were available beyond that. When contacted yesterday, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil merely said: “If it is PBB quota, let PBB fill it – that is our policy”.

“It doesn’t matter man or woman (to fill up the deputy chairman post).”

Recently, PBB vice president Dr Annuar Rapaee had said that the party was not eyeing the SMC chairmanship.

“We believe in sharing of power and responsibilities. So, whoever (is the new SMC chairman), and can work closely with us, we are ok with it,” Dr Annuar, who is Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health and Nangka assemblyman said then, adding that PBB was contented with the deputy chairman’s post.

He added that PBB here had forwarded names of several new faces to be considered for appointment as councillors of SMC. Of late, there had also been reports and talks of parties lobbying for the chairman posts of local councils. This included five SUPP Sibu branches expressing view that the person picked to head SMC for the new term must be someone recommended by the party.

It was reported that three names – Rejang Port Authority chairman Clarence Ting, SUPP Bukit Assek branch chairman Datuk Chieng Buong Toon and entrepreneur Dr Gregory Hii – had emerged as front runners to replace Datuk Tiong Thai King.

Meanwhile, when asked on the post of the council chairman yesterday, Chieng, who is also SUPP deputy president II, declined to comment.

“According to the media reports, the state cabinet has approved the list (of the new batch of councillors) which would now be sent to Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud for endorsement. So, just wait for it,” he said.

For the record, Tiong, who is Dudong assemblyman had expressed that it was time for him to make way for others to helm the council.

Having served as SMC chairman for the past 15 years, he believed that he would not be reappointed.