Tuesday, October 28, 2003

What's Wrong With Chong Kah Kiat?

The poison pen letters seem to resurface again in Sabah after a few years. It is understandable since the general election is coming soon. This is the time for aspiring politicians to lobby for seats and for the potential candidates to kill off their possible rivals in whatever ways they could think of.

Among the Chinese community, the former Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat is the target. He is under intense attacked by many groups of people. Some of his so call loyal followers have come out in support of him by giving various press statements hoping the fight off the smear campaign. But these are just puppets who have been instructed to do so.

It is not difficult to understand why Chong Kah Kiat is the target of all poison pen letters. It has a lot to do with his personality and what he has done both to his followers and his political rivals.

Chong is undeniable a very proud person who doesn't mix around with people easily especially those who are not considered as his inner circle friends. He is suspicious about anybody who get close to him. He doesn't even look at the person who shakes his hand. He is not playing cool but he is lack of public relations lessons. This has a lot to do with what he has gone through in his political career.

Chong has never won a single election at the earlier stage when he formed Liberal Democratic Party. People in Kudat where his home town is, preferred other candidates than him. He claimed to be the leader for people in Kudat but people in Kudat think otherwise. He thinks he was betrayed and deceived many times by his own close allies. The facts is he was dumped. This explains why he is always suspicious towards anybody who gets near him.

His political career only changed when he was made a senator and a federal minister. It was an gratitude from the Prime Minister to help him fight his party presidency battle with Datuk Kong Hon Ming. But his vitory against Kong was not easy. He spent a lot of money buying votes from delegates, pampered them with delicious meals and luxury hotels.

To avoid further back stabbing and betrayal from his follower, he practices cronism and favouritism. He made his sister, Naomi Chong, the women head of the party and his brother-in-law, Lee Chuan Wan, one of the vice presidents. His other sister Jenny Chong is one of the central committee member.

He determined all the line up of central committee members. Though it was seen as if the central committee members were elected but their positions were predetermined through a 'menu' distributed to the delegates hours before party elections. Non Yes-man in the party will not get elected because they are never in his 'menu'. That's why during any of the central committee meeting, no one else talk except the president. It was a briefing everytime and never a meeting.

When the rotation of Chief Minster in Sabah was introduced by PM to cool down the intense politicking and power struggle among the various ethnic groups in Sabah, Chong arrogantly said that Chinese is not suitable to be made a Chief Minister. He was trying to undermine the then Chinese CM from his rival party Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

Datuk Chong has openly announced Datuk Yong as his enemy. He blamed Yong for ditching one of his strong and capable Vice President Henry Lee. Henry Lee was then leading a very strong team of quality members in Tawau and has been well accepted by the local people due to his community work. Henry was too strong that Chong feared that he might be overthrown. He therefore trying to clip Henry's wings and ignore him.

Yong meanwhile recognises Henry's capabilities and invited him to join Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) which he leads. Though reluctant but Henry eventually left LDP due to frustration and cold shouder from his president. He later joined SAPP with all his strong supporters. There was a big reception for Henry where all the big guns in SAPP attended the function to welcome Henry. The news was well publicised in all local dailies.

Chong was humiliated by his own action but refused to admit. He claimed that Yong was the invisible hand behind to voo Henry to SAPP. Yong and SAPP of course denied it. The misunderstanding, or rather demonstrated misunderstanding, betwee Yong and Chong deepened. From then one Chong would boycot all functions attended by Yong.

When Chong's turn came to be the CM, he accepted it without saying a word of his previous opinion that Chinese is not suitable to be Sabah CM. Instead of bringing development to the people, he started his political revenge. He announced his strategies to go all out for the 3 sins namely timber thieves, fish bombing and illegal immigrants. It looked promising at the beginning.

He set up a special unit to investigate the illegal logging activities in the state. These unit was efficient initially as there were many cases been brought to the knowledge of the people. Local dailies also helped to expose many such illegal activities. Daily Epress, one of the local dailies even ran a special report on one timber thief being supported by top level politicians.

True colour of Chong eventually surfaced. None of those exposed were booked or brought to court. They were all let off saying that no illegal logging were involved. Chong denied every single illegal logging reported. What's the truth? The truth is, the special unit set up by the CM was Chong's strategies in receiving pay off from the guilties where normally would have gone to the forestry department. In order to get a share of the loot, a special unit which has power above the forestry department was set up.

Therefore the unit was only efficient at investigation level and that's it. These unit of course scored big success when timber thieves in the state who were threatened made generous donations to Chong personally as well as to his party function. Some even joined his party. One such person is Datuk Elbert Lim. He was even made a youth chief for one of the party divisions. Elbert's application to join the party was objected by some of the party members but the president insisted of accepting him. To the public, it was a big slap on the face for Chong when he failed to stop the activities of timber thieves which he vowed but in the contrary accepted a timber thief into his party.

The Ops Nyiah II which sent back illegal immigrants in the state was actually a nation wide exercise and was not Chong's idea. So Chong could claim no credits on that. His other plan to fight fish bombing also failed. This was due to his ignorant. Instead of controlling the supply of explosive for fish bombing and catching fish mongers who buy bombed fish, Chong chosed to send out marine police to patrol on sea. When the supply and demand are not cut off, how could he stop the fish bombing in open sea? Therefore fish bombing activities is still rampant and more corals are destroyed.

Chong also revoked the lopsided agreements on car rental by local councils. On this he has received praises from the public. However he once again stepped on the toes of Yong's followers as the car rental companies were operated by Yong's people.

Chong instead of reducing the number of 4D pundits has added more into the state claiming that more is better for curbing illegal gambling. The truth is, he was giving opportunity for his own followers to own the 4D outlets which is considered as a lucrative business.

To further improve his personal revenue, Chong signed off car parks contract in Kota Kinabalu to his followers namely Datuk Yong Cheong Fah, YC Lau and Leong Kam Ming. The trio formed a company called ikhtisas Wawasan Sdn. Bhd. He teamed up with the Mayor Datuk Abdul Ghani to make his plan successful. Carpark contract is nothing but by pushing up the parking rate skyhigh to make an instant fortune from the poor cityfolks is terrible. He promised to solve the problem during the Likas by-election but kept quiet after the by-election. He was all for his personal interest. That also explains why the Mayor's term was quickly renewed before Chong's term as CM expired.

The ugly side of Chong could go on and on. He just added another chapter in his act of cronism when his sister Naomi was elected a senator.

No further explanation is needed to prove but with facts lying down in the eyes of public, we the public judge better. So, to Datuk Chong, you asked for it and you deserve it.

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