Chong: SUPP should ask for finance minister post, not DCM post
KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) should be requesting for a finance minister post rather than badgering for a deputy chief minister post if it truly wants to serve the people.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said this was so because the post of deputy chief minister “has no portfolio or real power”.
In a statement yesterday, Chong cited several reasons that this post (DCM) was merely symbolic.
“For one, there is no specific function or power of a deputy chief minister. For instance, although Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing is a deputy chief minister, his jobs and functions are still in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transformation. As for Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah his main job is still with the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy.
“Therefore, rather than asking for a token or symbolic post, why not ask for one that has real function and power, namely the finance minister post?”
Chong, who is also Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said it was also the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s wish not to appoint a deputy chief minister from SUPP.
“When he (Adenan) created the third deputy chief minister post in May last year, SUPP made a demand to have its leader appointed as a deputy chief minister. Its request was however rejected, which shows that it was his (Adenan) decision not to have a deputy chief minister from SUPP.”
He added so much had been said by SUPP leaders on continuing Adenan’s legacy and wishes but he questioned if they were true. Why was SUPP openly challenging his decision so soon after his passing and even within the seven-day mourning period.
“It seems that whatever is claimed by SUPP about continuing the legacy of the late Adenan, such claims were made merely for the purpose of political expediency.
“When it comes to the personal interest of a ministerial post for a SUPP leader, Adenan’s legacy or otherwise, is never a factor to be taken into consideration by SUPP.”
He also reckoned that the finance minister’s post could help the people better because the minister could do much more than a deputy chief minister.
“At least, a finance minister has the power to decide on financial allocation for Chinese and mission schools, and other purposes.”
The other reasons, Chong said was that SUPP used to hold the finance ministerial post and that if the party were to hold this post, it would surely have an absolute advantage over UPP because its president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh was only second finance minister.
“But the question is, why is SUPP not demanding for this post? Have they not thought about it, or rather, are they afraid of PBB?”
Nevertheless, Chong said there was no limit to the number of DCMs being appointed.
“Adenan increased the number to three and the new Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg can well further increase it to four, five or even six.
“The only limit imposed by the Sarawak Constitution is that there shall not be more than 10 other ministers in the cabinet. Nothing is said about the number of deputy chief ministers,” he said.
As such, he said apart from satisfying personal egos, there was no practical significance even if a SUPP leader were appointed a deputy chief minister.
“However, if SUPP truly wants to help and serve the people, the finance minister post is of more significance. Rather than talking about the deputy chief minister post, SUPP should demand the return of the finance ministerial post which it once held,” he said.