This coming election will see the demise of some political parties in Sabah.
One that faces mass desertion from some of its senior leaders is LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), formerly headed by former Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat. Due to the Mazu controversy and a falling out with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, he resigned all his ministerial positions and as President of LDP and handed over the presidency to his deputy, Datuk Liew Vun Keong.
In 2004 LDP was given 1 parliamentary and 3 state seats in the ruling coalition. It lost the Sandakan parliamentary seat to an independent. Out of the three state seats, two were traditionally UMNO seats given to LDP during Tun Mahathir's rule. Objection from Sabah UMNO at that time was set aside by Mahathir. Chong was seen as his blue-eyed boy.Although his party only have 3 state seats at that time, he was made Chief Minister under the rotation system, to the consternation of other component parties in Sabah BN.Both seats, Tanjung Kapor and Merotai have predominantly Muslim voters.
Voting trends among BN coalition partners are based on comradeship. Every member of the coalition must deliver their support to any chosen candidate from any partner in the coalition irrespective of whether they like it or not. Occasionally there would be underhand tactics and sabotage if the candidate is not acceptable with other coalition partners, as was the case with LDP's loss of the Sandakan seat, which they blamed on SAPP headed by Datuk Yong Tet Lee. The seat was also coveted by SAPP on the basis of that it is a bigger party and has more members and supporters.
On Tuesday night nearly 200 Sandakan LDP members announced their resignation en bloc from the party due to dissatisfaction and objection to the fielding of an outsider to contest the Sandakan parliamentary seat. The candidate was the president himself, Datuk V.K.Liew. Sandakan LDP members have thrown their support behind Fong Vun Fui, LDP ex-State Deputy Youth Chief who resigned from the party and is standing as an independent against Datuk V.K.Liew. It appears that Liew is fighting an uphill battle and may lose the seat. Political pundits in Sandakan predicted he may even lose his deposit and rumours has it that the bookies are busy taking betting odds not in his favour.
The two state seats that are likely to end up the same way as Sandakan are Merotai and Tanjung Kapor. The dissatisfaction and objection was similar, putting an outsider to contest the seats.
The incumbent for Merotai Datuk Liew Vun Fah, although being a Chinese was a popular figure with the electorates in his constituency, was dropped as he was seen to be too close to Chief Minister Musa Aman. An outsider, Pang Yuk Ming was fielded in his place. LDP may have overlooked or didn't care that he obtained a majority of 4305 votes in 2004. The Muslims dominated constituency of Tanjong Kapur with eight-cornered fight would also see an uphill battle for LDP.
It is predicted that LDP may end up with zero seat or at the most only one, Karamunting in Sandakan, which was also given a slim chance.
Would it be do or die for LDP ?