SIBU: Chairman of Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Dudong branch councillor Teo Boon Siew has been reminded that unity is the most important element as the state’s ruling coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), is gearing up for the next state election.

An open statement issued yesterday afternoon by the secretariat of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Dudong branch made reference to the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who had once said that he rejected the ‘termites’ in GPS.

“As such, we remind Councillor Teo to take heed of the advice of the Chief Minister of Sarawak, and do not turn PDP into a ‘termite’ in GPS,” the secretariat said in response to Teo’s remarks, said during a ‘ceramah’ (talk) in Durin on Friday night about Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, who is also Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, being considered as a candidate for Dudong constituency in the next state election.

The SUPP statement took the view that the candidate for Dudong seat should be a member of SUPP Dudong.

“On Aug 29 last year, our branch committee resolved unanimously that our branch chairman Wong Ching Yong would be the only candidate representing SUPP to contest in the coming state election.

“Our (SUPP) Party Central was duly informed of this unanimous resolution and fully supported our recommendations.

“A key reason why SUPP must contest in Dudong in the next state election is the name of the state constituency, Dudong, which first appeared in the Sarawak election history in 1970.

“In that election, the SUPP candidate was the late Kong Chun Shao. He defeated the Sarawak Alliance candidate and became the first SUPP state legislative assemblyman in Dudong constituency.”

The statement continued that in 1970, Dudong was a Bumiputera-majority constituency, but SUPP still enjoyed strong support from the Iban and Chinese communities to win.

In 1974 state polls, Kong Chun Shao did not contest – he was replaced by the late Datuk Ting Ing Mieng, who was defeated by Datuk Sandah of the now-defunct Sarawak National Party (SNAP), who defended Dudong constituency in 1979.

SNAP was deregistered in 2013 by the Registrar of Societies.

In 1983 election, Wilfred Kirrow, an independent candidate who was supported by SUPP, defeated Joseph Tang of SNAP. Wilfred Kirrow later joined BN/SUPP.

In 1987, Wilfred Kirrow quit BN/SUPP to join  Kumpulan Maju, led by the late Tun Rahman.

He was defeated by Jawan Empaling of SUPP.

In 1990, Dudong became a Chinese-majority constituency following a demarcation exercise by the Election Commission.

In 1991, Datuk Dr Soon Choon Teck represented SUPP to beat the late Joseph Tang of DAP with  a landslide majority of 6,033 votes.

Dr Soon retained Dudong – he won uncontested in 1996, and defended the seat in 2001 and 2006.

In 2011, he was replaced by Datuk Tiong Thai King who was defeated by Yap Hoi Liong of DAP by 317 votes.

In 2016, Tiong as a direct BN candidate, took the seat from Yap.

The statement concluded that from 1970 to 2016, voters in Dudong had witnessed 11 state elections, out of which candidates of or related to SUPP had won eight times.

“History is written by victors, a famous quote by Winston Churchill. SUPP is undoubtedly a victor in the electoral history of Dudong. Therefore conceptually, the common view of the people of Sibu is that Dudong should be contested by a candidate from SUPP Dudong in the next state election,” the statement said.