KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) has identified only one potential candidate for Opar in the next state election, says a party insider.
He said the branch had submitted Cr Niponi Undek’s name to the SUPP Bumiputera Bureau for consideration before it was submitted to the party’s central leadership. Niponi, a Bidayuh Selako, is SUPP Opar chairman and a member of SUPP central working committee.
“The potential candidate for the Dayak traditional seat of SUPP has been endorsed by the Bumiputera Bureau, and has been submitted to the party’s central committee for consideration
“The list of candidates will then be submitted to Gabungan Parti Sarawak leadership for endorsement,” he said.
Opar seat is currently held by Datuk Ranum Mina of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), formerly United People’s Party (UPP).
Ranum is a five-term Opar assemblyman since 2001 after winning on Barisan Nasional (BN)-SUPP ticket. He successfully defended the seat in 2015 on a direct BN ticket.
SUPP’s other Dayak predominant seats are Mambong, Engkilili and Simanggang.
The insider said the Bumiputera Bureau had endorsed Datuk Francis Harden Hollis to defend Simanggang, and more than one potential candidates for Mambong and Engkilili each.
The potential candidates for Mambong are Padawan Municipal Council councillors Akim Sarok and Jimson Jium Singong, and Andrew Victor Nyub.
The insider said SUPP is serious in taking back Opar, Mambong and Engkilili after it had to give way to direct BN candidates Ranum, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil and Johnical Rayong to defend the three seats in the last state election.
After winning the election the trio joined PSB. Dr Jerip, however, left PSB last year to join Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) while Ranum and Rayong remain with PSB.
Ranum and Rayong are set to defend their seats for PSB while Dr Jerip is said to be ‘uncertain’ in defending Mambong.
SUPP’s 20 traditional seats are Opar, Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kitang, Batu Kawah, Mambong, Simanggang, Engkilili, Repok, Meradong, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Bawang Assan, Pelawan, Tanjung Batu, Piasau, Pujut and Senadin.