by : S Yaman
This is with reference to Sabah DAP and in particular Dr. Hiew King Cheu – Member of the Sabah Legislative Assembly (ADUN) N16 Luyang, former Sabah DAP Advisor and former Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament (KKMP).
As a layman and ordinary person, I have been observing and analyzing the political parties in Sabah and Malaysia. Dr Hiew King Cheu, as the first term KKMP from 2008 to 2013 had spent the last five years by putting lot of efforts and hard work to attend to the problems and cries of the people of KK and Sabah. As a national newspaperman since 1985, I have never seen many politicians who tirelessly work day in and day out for the whole year even on Chinese New Year.
DAP had won only one MP seat in Sabah after the 2008 General Election. The people of KK and Sabah would have like to see the continuity and consistency of Dr Hiew in Parliament in 2013 but that opportunity was not offered to him. Many people of all races in Sabah appreciate his dedication and unselfish efforts for the community. We cannot afford to lose such a committed leader. In my view, Dr Hiew has selflessly sacrificed his time, efforts, money, personal and family wellbeing for the party and the people of Sabah.
I have the rare opportunity to accompany him on many occasions to “walk the talk” and “turun padang” on any day of the week, rain or shine. Dr Hiew would drive the length and breath of Sabah - from Sipitang to Kudat in the West Coast, across the Central Regions from Kalabakan, Keningau and Ranau, and Sandakan to Tawau on the East Coast visiting and listening to the people. After each and every trip, he would write statements and newspaper articles to voice the problems and plights of the people to get the attention of various authorities within the government. These are met with many good and positive results. I have never come across another MP or ADUN in Sabah who would do the same in their term of office with full dedication and commitment.
In 2002, Hiew took up the task with a hand full of members to revamp Sabah DAP and it was a very difficult job. Dr Hiew later became the state chairman of Sabah DAP, he had helped to organize and set up many branches in Sabah. It looked like these branches would be looking for leaders or face closures. We have seen a number of resignations in DAP before and even after the 13th General Election. This has now included Dr Hiew resigning the post as Sabah DAP Advisor. It is a loss to see a man of dedication and commitment in the bastion leaving. This loss would see a bigger wave of people leaving the party.
Despite Dr Hiew’s sacrifices, patience, determination, persistence, commitment, selflessness and high work, on many occasions he was not consulted, treated with a little bit of appreciation and respect by his fellow comrades, the very people who would “step over his head; and stab him in the back”. He thought that his comrades in Sabah were working on common grounds, purposes and mission in the best interest of the party and the people.
The issue on the recent appointment of the opposition leader in Sabah DUN is a typical example; perhaps this is “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. In the end the choice of the state opposition leader is eminent.
Now, that the dust of the 13th GE is finally settled, Dr Hiew has been asked to “show cause” on why he didn’t support an independent to be the head of the Sabah opposition – a loss-cause plan that does not have the numbers to match PKR. Is this an issue or a guilt that Dr Hiew has to be sorry for? Since he was never consulted, appreciated or respected, what do the people advice that he is supposed to do for the party and the people who voted him into office?
During the various negotiations within the Pakatan Rakyat member parties for the Sabah state election seats allocation; Dr Hiew’s ideas, thoughts and opinions were not heeded or taken into consideration. In the end, DAP got quite a raw deal despite the Sabah DAP committee’s agreement on what minimum number of seats Sabah DAP would bargain for. PAS, PPPS and APS surprisingly got the better share of the cake. Even the Sabah chairman Jimmy Wong crossed over from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu to take the MP seat away from him in spite of written objection by DAP KK branches to the HQ.
Dr Hiew organized numerous political “ceramah” before and during the campaign periods for the 13th General Election. On the campaign run, Sabah DAP was hammered every day by other political parties in their ceramah, the internet and mass media before and after the dissolution of parliament until the last day of campaign period. Another opposition party leader and their members even gate-crashed the Sabah DAP ceramah, and created a scene until the police were called in to escort them back to their ceramah area. They even came to Dr Hiew’s Luyang office in the middle of the night and on several other occasions to serve letters to call for a debate. In all these, other DAP leaders were not around to show support and understanding in times of difficulties. Dr Hiew stood firmly and continued to battle on to campaign for Sabah DAP until the last night in the Kapayan ceramah before the polling day. Who helped, assisted and supported him?
Dr Hiew’s efforts, struggles and battles for the DAP and the people of Sabah may have reached a cross road. This might be the time for him to reflect, rethink, refocus and move on. Life is just too short to dwell on the past. His efforts to strife, struggle and work for the people of Sabah shall continue, and may be until the end of his term as ADUN. The people who voted for him will not regret in supporting him as their representative. His service orientated attitude and spirit shall remain as a good example for others.