Doctor sacrifices sleep to campaign for votes

KOTA KINABALU: Dr Felix Chong Kat Fah is used to having sleepless nights.

However, this time it is a whole different situation. Just about a month ago, Chong would be going on his usual rounds as a medical practitioner, checking on his patients, having just a few hours of sleep.

But lately, he has not been getting enough sleep as he is on a different mission.

Chong, who is contesting under the Sabah State Reform Party (Sabah STAR) for the Api-Api state seat, has been going around sharing their manifesto and hopes for Sabahans if they form the government on Monday.

With just a day to go before polling day, the newcomer said there has been no dull moment.

“Just last Saturday, I was at the central market for one of my walkabouts. An elderly man came up to me and said: ‘Barisan Nasional gave us laptops, what can you offer us?’. I just smiled and told him that I may not give him lucrative things but I can return his rights as a Sabahan, and give him my sincerity to fight for what is rightfully his. I then hugged him before continuing with my walk.”

“Generally people are polite, no one has shown any disrespect or refusal to shake my hands,” said the 45-year-old who is sicken to the fact some Sabahans are treated as poor and third class citizens.

Born in Kota Kinabalu to a working class family, Chong’s father was a police officer, while his mum was a clerk. He pursued his dream to be a doctor in 1999 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after completing his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in India. He is married with a son.

Predicting a 50-50 chance against his other contenders for the seat — incumbent Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai (BN-PBS), Datuk Wong Yit Ming (Sabah Progressive Party), Liew Chin Jin (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and Jude Marcel Joseph (Independent), Chong believes he has the edge as “people do not need recycled leaders. I believe they are thirsty for change and will pick the best person to represent them.”

Yee won the seat in the 12th general election in 2008 with only 174 majority votes. There are 15,103 registered voters in Api-Api.

Chong was the hospital director in Beluran and Pitas before promoted as the senior medical officer at the Sabah State Health Department here. In 2008, after 13 years in government service, he decided to resign to join a medical practice in the city.

“Sabahans may not have a general hospital, enough doctors, uninterrupted electricity supply, clean potable water, clear unpolluted skies or even new generator sets, but Sabahans have the power to change all this by the stroke of the pen.

“We still have a chance to vote to bring a tsunami of change to sweep away the rotten and bring in new people who really care and will work hard for the rights of Sabahans before it is really too late,” he said.

Chong made his breakthrough into politics in 2010 when he joined Sabah Democratic Action Party (Sabah DAP) and was chairman of DAP Sabah Health and Medical Advisory Bureau as well as chairman of DAP Tanjung Aru branch. But two years later, he had a change of heart after Sabah STAR was formed.

It all happened after reading and analysing the truths contained in the Sabah STAR’s Borneo Agenda. He had no choice but to switch to the party as a more suitable platform to fight for the Sabah rights as a Malaya-based party cannot or will not fight and safeguard the rights.

“Only a Sabahan knows what we need and will truly fight to reclaim and preserve our Sabah rights.

“As a Sabahan born and bred, having been a medical doctor and hospital director in Beluran and also in Pitas, where both districts unarguably among the poorest districts in Malaysia, I understand the health needs of the people in Sabah in particular and Malaysia in general. I have the medical, people and administrative skills but most importantly the patriotic fire to fight for the rights of Sabah and Sabahans which have been neglected for so long,” stressed Chong. #myvote13 #ge13

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