Something is very interesting happening in Kudat. Election fever seems to be the hottest in Kudat, a seat currently held by LDP President, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat.
Kudat was previously a state seat. However, after the new delineation of parliamentary boundary, the state seat has became Tanjung Kapor. Kudat is now a parliamentary seat consists of Banggi, Tanjung Kapur and Pitas.
Chong Kah Kiat has been the target of numerous poison pen letter attacks, which LDP supporters believe was distributed by SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) lead by Datuk Yong Teck Lee. Both Yong and Chong were former Chief Ministers of Sabah in the rotation system.
Chong was also by other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties namely UMNO. Some were not happy that Chong played an important role in bringing back PBS into BN which in one way or another reduce the chances of aspiring candidates in other component parties. Chong has been very quiet initially but finally broke his silence and defended himself. He also urged his party members to help protect his integrity.
Recently the Chinese Chamber of Commerce leader, Datuk Sari Tan started a signature campaign for Yong Teck Lee to seek the pardon of Yang Dipertua Agong. Yong was removed from both parliament and state assembly after been found guilty of election offences. The signature campaign claims that Sabah needs a real Chinese leader like to Yong to safeguard their interests. Chong, meanwhile, warned his party members not to take part in the signature campaign or face disciplinary actions.
The signature campaign, however, received good response from the Chinese community through out the state. Kudat Hakka leader and former polical enemy of Chong Kah Kiat, Datuk Whong Phin Chung also came out to support. Wong has been missing from the polical seen for quite a while after quiting PBS. Wong was once Yong's rival in PBS, fighting for the number one Chinese post in the party.
Wong's reason for coming out in support of the signature campaign was answered a few days later. He announced that he would contest in the coming election as an independant candidate against Chong.
Datuk Yong, had, during a gathering in Kudat told his party supporters to vote for their favourite candidate. Although he did not explain further but it is not easy to understand as not supporting Chong Kah Kiat. Now that Datuk Wong has made his stand, Yong's statement could mean asking his party members to support Datuk Wong Phin Chung.
After being cornered, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat has no choice but to make his comment on Wong's intention. Chong said he welcome Wong to contest in Tanjung Kapor, siting this is a democratic country, anyone could become a candidate.
Should the Chong-Wong battle become a reality, it would be very interesting. Facing each other in election for both men is not new. They have met in 1985, 1986 and 1990 but for all three elections, Chong lost to Wong.
Wong was only defeated in 1994 when Chong gave way to Datuk Kong Hon Ming. However, Kong, who won the first ever LDP state seat, betrayed Chong and Challenged Chong for the party president post. Kong lost and later quit the party. Kong has since then became a bashing dog in LDP party congress every year.
During the 1999 election, Chong stood as a candidate in Kudat against Kong and won. His victory came mainly from the non-Chinese voters. Chong was even quoted as saying he could win without the support of Chinese. Such words have offended the Chinese, and they still remember.
Should Chong and Wong meet again in the coming state election, Chong is expected to fight an uphill battle. First, Chong has never defeated Wong for the last three encounters. Second, Kong Hon Ming, might also stand as an independent to seek revenge from Chong if he is not nominated by the BN. Kong is now with PBS. And fourthly, Chong is not well like by the Chinese. The numerous scandals, Kota Kinabalu Car Park, Tambalang race course, Chinese School Land Application and many more surrounding Chong could also spell trouble for Chong.
Chong Kah Kiat (BERJAYA– BN) - 2,366
Wong Phin Chung (PBS) - 3,364
Chong Kah Kiat (BERJAYA - BN) - 3,489
Wong Phin Chung (PBS) - 4,380
Chong Kah Kiat (LDP) - 4,043
Wong Phin Chung (PBS) - 4,667
Wong Phin Chung (PBS) - 5,197
Kong Hong Ming (LDP – BN) - 5,476
Chong Kah Kiat (LDP – BN) - 6,935
Kong Hong Ming (PBS) - 5,447