Former Sabah CM Chong may make comeback to state politics

Chong Kah Kiat was chief minister from 2001 to 2003 under Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s chief minister rotation system during the latter’s first term as prime minister. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Barisan Nasional component party Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has big ambitions in the coming snap state election, with the possibility of its former president Chong Kah Kiat making a comeback.

Hoping to be the third force, LDP is eyeing at least 40 seats out of the 73 to be contested and believes its chances are better with Chong being the pull factor. Chong was chief minister from 2001 to 2003 under Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s chief minister rotation system during the latter’s first term as prime minister.

Asked if he would contest in the coming election, Chong told FMT: “Let’s wait, have a little patience. Let’s wait for the Election Commission meeting.”

Chong, who is LDP life honorary president, retired as party president in 2006, allowing now permanent Warisan chairman Liew Vui Keong to take over the helm then.

A year later, Chong, then the deputy chief minister and tourism, culture and environment minister, resigned from former chief minister Musa Aman’s state Cabinet, after a falling out with the latter.

However, he suddenly appeared after an 11-year absence from politics to campaign for BN in the last general election, raising eyebrows after his earlier differences with Musa.

A former state assemblyman for the Tanjung Kapor seat in the Kudat parliamentary constituency, Chong shot down claims he had supported Warisan prior to GE14 then.

Meanwhile, LDP acting president Chin Su Phin said the party envisioned itself as the third force for Sabahan voters in the coming polls.

The other forces considered in the state are the incumbent ruling coalition of Warisan Plus (which also includes Upko, PKR and DAP) and Sabah Umno/BN with its Perikatan Nasional allies of Sabah PPBM, PBS and STAR.

Sabah MCA and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah are also part of Sabah BN.

Chin was also coy when asked if Chong would be making his comeback. However, he said they had conducted a survey in the state and were confident they could be the surprise package in the election.

“Most of the people (in their survey) said they are willing to have a third force in Sabah so they at least have another choice.

“We are independent … we are not joining BN or anyone else,” he told FMT.

Saying they would contest in more seats this time, he added: “We will contest in the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) areas and even the Muslim Bumiputera-majority seats (besides the Chinese seats) … we are a multi-racial party.”

LDP lost the one parlimentary and four state seats it contested under BN in the 2018 general election.

Two days after the May 9 election, it became the second party to quit BN after Upko following the disastrous results of GE14.