KUCHING, April 1 – Stampin incumbent Member of Parliament Datuk Yong Khoon Seng(pic) said today his family has given him the blessing to reconsider his intention to retire from active politics should Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak decide to pick him to defend the seat in the 13th general election.
The 71-year-Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) stalwart said he would leave it to the top Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership to make the decision despite making it known publicly on numerous occasions that he would step down so as to spend more time with his family.
“I have discussed the matter with my family and they understand my situation…so I have to reconsider, at the moment, if the people still want me, I will continue to serve,” Yong, who is also Deputy Works Minister, told reporters after officiating at the Sarawak Tung Yang Clan Association’s annual general meeting cum educational award presentation ceremony here.
On Friday, SUPP president Datuk Seri Peter Chin, who had briefed Najib, who is also national BN chairman, on the party’s election preparation as well as the status of Stampin in Putrajaya, had said the top BN leadership would have the final say on Yong’s candidacy as BN had wanted a winnable candidate.
In respect to Yong’s wish to retire after serving for five consecutive terms, the SUPP central working committee had nominated only one name, SUPP Youth secretary-general Wilfred Yap, for consideration. Asked on his chances of retaining Stampin for the sixth term should he be asked to defend it, particularly as its three state seats of Kota Sentosa and Batu Kawah were being held by the opposition DAP while Batu Lintang was under Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Yong said, the voting trend and issues involved in a parliamentary election differed from that of a state election.
In the 2008 parliamentary election, Yong retained the seat after beating Voon Lee Shan from the DAP and See Chee How (PKR) in a three-cornered fight with a 3,070-vote majority. Although he had yet to be approached by the top BN leadership, including Najib, on his possible candidacy, he said, many friends from within SUPP itself had come to see him to reconsider his earlier retirement plans.
Apart from Chin, SUPP Sibu branch chief Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh also hoped that Yong would be willing to defend the seat for the party as he was the most winnable candidate in Kuching area, where SUPP has been allocated two seats,
including Stampin and Bandar Kuching. SUPP, which lost Bandar Kuching in the last parliamentary election and Sibu during the 2010 by-election, will also contest in the parliamentary seats of Serian, Sarikei, Lanang, Sibu and Miri.