SAPP newcomer hopes to keep his school’s tradition alive

Lim Kat Chung (front row, second left) together with SAPP president Yong Teck Lee (right), the party’s Likas candidate Richard Yong We Kong (left) and the party’s Luyang candidate Gee Tien Siong outside the nomination centre on Saturday.

KOTA KINABALU: Having been a La Salle secondary school student, Lim Kat Chung knows his alma mater’s tradition of producing a long line of state and national figures.

That pressure to keep the tradition alive has suddenly fallen on his shoulders after being officially announced as the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) candidate for the Api-Api state seat yesterday.

SM La Salle, in Tanjung Aru here, is a mission school and one of the oldest in the state.

La Salle’s list of leaders is nothing short of illustrious. That includes two former Sabah chief ministers, Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Bernard Dompok, former state governor Ahmadshah Abdullah and the late Peter Mojuntin, the darling of the Kadazan community.

“The feeling of being even considered to be in this bracket of leaders is indescribable,” Lim said when asked if he felt any pressure in contesting the seat.

The father of three hopes to one day follow in the prominent leaders’ footsteps but played down the connection as he knew his place.

“These are big-time leaders and it is still early days for me … I have to win first anyway,” said the 39-year-old.

Standing in his way in Api-Api, which is part of the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary constituency, are veteran politicians as well — namely Sabah PKR chairperson Christina Liew and Barisan Nasional’s PBS deputy president Dr Yee Moh Chai.

Also in the five-cornered fight are Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri candidate Land Lip Fong and independent Dr Chan Chee Ching.

Joining SAPP when the party was still part of BN in 1998, Lim has grown through the ranks and has finally been given the chance by the leadership to contest for the first time in this coming election.

A professional photographer by profession, Lim is a second generation SAPP member, with his father being one of the initial members of the party, which is part of the four-pact opposition Gabungan Sabah.

“Actually, I was with the party since 1994. At that time, I carried chairs and did whatever I could to be involved.

“Now that I am a candidate, I believe I have what it takes to win and I know the core values of the party,” he said.

While he admits the burden to deliver, Lim is confident in his abilities despite being a newcomer. He is focused on serving his constituents and fighting for Sabah’s rights if he wins.

“All this talk about autonomy from Parti Warisan Sabah, DAP and even BN … SAPP was the first to talk about it,” he contended.

“They all talk about the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) on how the rights ‘should be given’.

“BN’s concept is akin to ‘this is what you want? Then I will give you’. It shouldn’t be that way because it is our right, our autonomy and we should have it and keep it because it is ours,” he said.

Lim said what SAPP wanted was somewhat like the China-Hong Kong system.

“Hong Kong is still part of China but both have totally different immigration rules, their own identity cards and passports, and even the currency is different.

“Sabah can be like that. We don’t want  Sabah to leave Malaysia but we want to have a one country-two system administration,” he added.

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