Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is SUPP-Barisan Nasional’s candidate for Batu Kawah, has suddenly become an instant celebrity politician. Wherever he goes on his campaign trail, he is mobbed by adoring fans.
They would take selfies with him. Families would take group photographs with him. And mothers would ask him to hold their toddlers so they could take photographs of Sim holding their children.
In between the campaign, business houses and community associations would invite him to their functions or officiate at the launch of their activities or attend their dinner gatherings.
They all want to associate with him or getting close to him.
It all points to the fact that Sim is a celebrity politician and someone you can rely upon or someone you can trust, be it as a politician or a cardiologist or just as an ordinary person.
He seems to be everywhere. Just the other night, he left in the midst of his speech at a political rally to attend to a road accident victim. Not only that, he accompanied the victim, who had serious head injuries, to the Sarawak General Hospital.
Concern to the ordinary rakyat
That shows his real concern to the ordinary rakyat.
During floods late last year and early this year, he and his team from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) were on the grounds in Batu Kawah and Batu Kitang, helping the flood victims with whatever assistance they could provide.
Batu Kawah and Batu Kitang are the most flood-prone areas in Kuching. My friends and I were wondering where the wakil rakyat from Batu Kawah was? Yes, she did appear but only towards the end of the floods.
Prime Minister Najib Razak had already promised RM80 million for Batu Kawah flood mitigation projects if Sim is able to wrest back Batu Kawah from the opposition DAP in the state election.
So, we can see that Sim is determined to ensure that low-lying areas in Batu Kawah will not have to suffer from floods every year.
Remember that he has proposed for the villagers of Rantau Panjang to be resettled elsewhere so they do not have to suffer from floods every year?
On education, Sim had worked hard to get the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) recognised by the state government. His close working relationship with Chief Minister Adenan Satem is one reason why UEC is now being recognised by the state government.
Sim, upon his election as SUPP president on Sept 9, 2014, had pledged to make his party great again. He said he alone would not be able to do it, but he needed all the members to work together with him.
He said it would be a collective leadership and the responsibility of the members to strengthen and solidify the party to a position where it was in its early years of formation.
The party was weak and disorganised due to internal squabbles when George Chan Hong Nam was the president from 1997 to 2011.
In the 2011 state election, Chan and 12 other party candidates lost to the opposition, proving a point that SUPP was no longer enjoying the support of the Chinese community.
Chan took the blame for the worst electoral outings by the party so he decided to step as party president, giving way to Peter Chin Fah Kui to take over.
The already weakened SUPP was almost wiped out in the 2013 general election, retaining only one Dayak seat, but losing five Chinese seats to the opposition.
Sim was one of the younger generation of educated Chinese being lured into enter politics through SUPP in 2011.
Sim’s father, the late Sim Kheng Hong had been a deputy chief minister under Rahman Yakub and then Taib Mahmud, from 1974 to 1990.
The younger Sim contested in Pending in 2011, but lost to the DAP candidate Violet Yong. Despite losing, he did not give up politics.
He rose fast in SUPP, elected secretary general in 2012 and elected president in 2014.
When Sim took over from Chin at the party’s general assembly on Sept 9,2014, he asked all party members to look to the future, but they should not forget the past as a bitter lesson.
Fighting for political survival
He said the party was “fighting for political survival” and required a major revamp to remain relevant with the current trends and be acceptable, especially among the younger generations.
“Everybody realises that if we don’t get ourselves united and go into state election, we will have problems winning our seats. At least, a good start would be not quarrelling among ourselves,” he had told party members on being elected the new president.
He hoped the Chinese community would give SUPP a chance to try out the new leaders by rallying behind them.
Sim believes that SUPP’s support for Adenan Satem as chief minister and state Barisan chairman is good for the party.
“We recognise and strongly support his courage and leadership in his inclusive policies, his anti-corruption campaign, his mutual respect and moderate view in religions and racial harmony plus his zeal to make Sarawak a better place,” Sim said in his Chinese New Year’s message.
For the Chinese in Sarawak, in order to be part of this exciting new era under Adenan, to be more effectively represented, Sim urged the Chinese in Sarawak to think rationally, to be aware of the realities, to take up the challenge and responsibility for our children and our future destiny.
He would like to work with all segments of the communities in Sarawak and his biggest dream is the youth, especially the Chinese youth so that their ideas, inspirations can be realised and he could pass the leadership baton seamlessly to the next generations.
Seize the dream
“We hope together, we can seize the once in a lifetime dream through Sarawak Barisan under the chairmanship of Adenan the next state election,” he said in his message.
Sim assures Adenan that SUPP and the Chinese community will continue to support him for his courage and leadership in his inclusive policies, his anti-corruption campaign, his mutual respect and moderate view in religions and racial harmony, and his zeal to make Sarawak a better place in the years to come.
At the launch of the SUPP Batu Kawah’s election manifesto, he promised improve the quality of life and bring about tangible lasting benefits and transform Batu Kawah into a self-contained township.
“If I were elected in this election I will strive to have all the facilities to improve the quality of life and bring about tangible lasting benefits to our children and grandchildren in terms of business and employment opportunities, education, medical facilities, quality of life and infrastructure improvements.
“At the moment the constituency does not have enough facilities to qualify itself as a satellite town,” he told reporters.
Sim pledged that SUPP would transform the constituency into a satellite town through the development introduced under the five categories spelt out in the election manifesto.
“Please vote for BN so that all issues faced by the constituents such as poor drainage, flood and traffic congestion would be sorted out,” he said.
He is facing Batu Kawah incumbent Christina Chiew (DAP) and independent Liu Thian Leong in the May 7 election. – Sarawakvoice.com