SUPP's impressive performance in the just concluded Sarawak election, winning seven of the 13 seats it contested showed the new leaders had done a good job in convincing the Chinese to play a greater role in the government.
Former party president Dr George Chan said the whole set of new leaders led by Dr Sim Hui Hian, who took over from the old guards, had turned around the embattled party into a relevant one again.
"In addition to the 'Adenan factor', there is obviously a shift by the Chinese to BN," he said when contacted by Bernama.
In the 2011 state polls SUPP was defeated in 13 of the 19 seats contested, and Dr Chan was trounced in the Piasau constituency.
This time, in a keenly watched contest, Dr Sim wrested the Batu Kawah seat from DAP after defeating incumbent Christina Chiew.
As a former deputy chief minister in the cabinet of former chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Dr Chan agreed that the deputy chief minister's post should be returned to SUPP through Dr Sim as a recognition of the contribution of the Chinese in the state.
Contrary to the opposition's claim that SUPP would be not effective, he said, "SUPP should get that position, which was practically promised to Dr Sim as it will be a great boost to SUPP and the Chinese to play a bigger role in politics and government."
Dr Sim is the son of late former Sarawak deputy chief minister Sim Kheng Hong, who was also a former SUPP president.
However, Dr Chan also attributed the party's better performance to the "Adenan fever", brought about by Chief Minister Adenan Satem's 53
initiatives and his popularity.
"Adenan seems to be much fairer...obviously he is someone who listens and responds to their requests," he said when alluding to the several initiatives adopted for the Chinese community, among others, recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and barring anyone from calling the Chinese 'pendatang' (immigrants) and grants for Independent Chinese schools.
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Results of the Sarawak state elections as expected