29 January, 2004
Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Resource Development and Information Technology Minister, Datuk Nyip Shen will not be contesting the Elopura constituency in the coming election.
Tham, who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Deputy President, said he is prepared to play a new role as Member of Parliament. It would also be unfair to Elopura voters to keep on voting for the same person when his successor might have new ideas to develop the constituency, he said.
Batu Sapi is the latest Sandakan parliamentary constituency under the Election Commission’s new electoral boundaries. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) holds the Sandakan parliamentary seat, while Umno is in control of the Kinabatangan, Libaran and Beluran seats.
Speaking when hosting his Ministry’s Chinese New Year luncheon for the local media at Pacific Sutera, here, Wednesday, he said:
“I am not running away from Elopura but considering taking up a new role as a Member of Parliament.” SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee had, in principle, accepted his decision.
He said the time has come for leaders from the younger generation, who are ready for the task, to be brought forward for the job and indicated that the party might have earmarked a successor for the Elopura seat.
“The decision to allow my successor to contest the next election was not made overnight. It has been at the back of my mind for several years already.”
Tham, 45, said it took him 15 years to groom his choice of successor, but declined to reveal his identity except that he “is a young person”.
Tham had served as Elopura Assemblyman for 19 years, since winning it under PBS in 1985. Tham holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the UK, majoring in electronic and electrical engineering. At 27, he became the youngest Minister when appointed Tourism and Environment Development Minister.
Together with Yong, they left PBS on the eve of the 1994 State election to form SAPP, which succeeded in withdrawing some Chinese support for PBS and went on to win the Elopura, Tanjong Papat and Likas State seats and the Gaya parliamentary seat, alongside the Barisan Nasional.
The crucial break from PBS resulted from dissatisfaction over the way Chinese leaders were treated by some factions in PBS and unwarranted meddling in the choice of Chinese candidates by the then PBS “kitchen cabinet”.
Meanwhile, Tham commended the media for having played a befitting role as disseminator of information to the people at large.
According to him, the media had complemented tremendously to the Government’s development efforts.
He said the future might see the local media being more independent and professional in the duties entrusted to them.