1989: The Formation
LDP was formed in 1989 when PBS was at the height of its political realm. Having defeated the then Berjaya Government in 1985 after a political upheaval, PBS became more formidable than ever and went on to win the snap election the following year convincingly. The formation of LDP then was seen more as “a storm in a teacup” despite the existence of Berjaya, USNO and Sabah Chinese Party (SCP) that were posed to challenge the mighty PBS then.
1990: Total Failure
LDP made its maiden entrance into the political foray in the 1990 Sabah State Election by fielding 14 of its candidates together with Berjaya, USNO, SCP and many other Independent candidates. Despite the strong challenge posed to PBS, PBS won 44 seats out of the 48 State Constituencies. It was a whitewash as far as LDP was concerned as it lost all of the 14 seats it contested.
1991: Admission to BN
Notwithstanding the defeat in the 1990 State Election, LDP made inroad in its political struggle by becoming the first Chinese based party in Sabah to be admitted into the fold of Barisan Nasional. LDP then was led by Datuk Chong Kah Kiat who had since replaced Protem President Hiew Ming Kong as the President of LDP. The virtues of perseverance, loyalty and dedication of which the Party President have been practising since have proven to be the cornerstone of success for LDP. The other political parties who had contested in the 1990 State Election went into disarray and disappeared from the political scene altogether.
1994: A Taste of Victory
The 1994 State Election was seen as a turning point for LDP when it was allocated three State Constituencies in Kudat, Tenom and Sembulan by BN to contest under the BN flag.
LDP’s candidate Kong Hong Ming went on to secure the Kudat seat for BN. Dr Chong Eng Leong LDP candidate then for Sembulan lost to PBS by a whisker whereas Wong Yit Ming then LDP Youth Leader who stood in Tenom lost badly to PBS.
The after match of the 1994 State Election saw many elected YBs switching their political camps resulting in the collapse of PBS and the emergence of Sabah UMNO which went on to form the next government. The new State Government of Sabah saw the inclusion of the LDP’s candidate who had just won the Kudat Constituency in the Sabah Cabinet.
1995: Internal Conflicts
LDP won another feather on the cap when its Deputy President Datuk Lau Ngan Siew won the Sandakan Parliamentary seat in the General Election 1995. Soon afterward, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia announced the appointment of Datuk Chong Kah Kiat as the Senator during a visit to Sabah. LDP was then posed to excel and to gain recognition in its political struggle but along the way a problem submerged from within when the elected candidate in Kudat and then a Cabinet Minister in the State Government openly challenged Datuk Chong Kah Kiat for the Party’s Presidency.
The bitter fight for the LDP Presidency between Datuk Chong Kah Kiat and Datuk Kong Hon Ming resulted in the defeat of the latter who subsequently resigned from the Party and lost his Ministerial post in the Sabah Cabinet. After brushing off the challenge from the prodigal son, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat went on from strength to strength and continued as the Minister in the Prime Minister Department in 1995 till his resignation in January 1999 to return to State politics.
1999: Into the Cabinet
LDP was allocated two State Constituencies seats for the 1999 State Election namely Kudat and Karamunting where the BN candidates under Datuk Chong Kah Kiat and Datuk Wong Lien Tat, the Party’s Vice President, won with a handsome majority.
Datuk Chong Kah Kiat was then made the State’s Minister of Tourism, Environment, Science and Technology Development and Datuk Wong Lien Tat, the Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Department.
Later in the 1999 Parliamentary Election, LDP again given the task to contest in the Sandakan Parliamentary Constituency where the Party’s Deputy President, Datuk Lau Ngan Siew, retained the seat for a second time.
1999: Political Height
The struggle for LDP culminated when the Party’s President Datuk Chong Kah Kiat became the 12th Chief Minister of Sabah under the Rotation System introduced by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamed.
During his two years’ tenure as Chief Minister, the State saw the unprecedented progress in the State’s policies in controlling and eradicating illegal logging, illegal fish bombing and illegal immigrants. The development of the tourism industry in the State under the able leadership of Datuk Chong Kah Kiat also progressed at a tremendous speed, contributing vast revenue towards the Federal coffer as large number of foreign tourists have started to visit Sabah and further revitalising the State economy.
2004: Icing On Cake
The Barisan Nasional sought a fresh mandate from the people in March under the newly delineated constituencies where 12 more new constituencies were added to the 48 constituencies. History was also in the making when Sabah held both the Parliamentary and the State Election at the same time.
LDP was allocated three out of the sixty constituencies namely Tanjong Kapor, Karamunting and Merotai. The Party President, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, Vice President Datuk Wong Lien Tat and the Merotai Division’s advisor Datuk Major Liew Yun Fah were given the task to stand for Barisan Nasional in the respective Constituencies and they won their seats comfortably. The newly formed State Cabinet saw the appointment of the Party’s President Datuk Chong Kah Kiat as the Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment.
On 5 June 2004, The Party’s President was conferred the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) that carries the title ‘Tan Sri’ by the Yang DiPertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail on the occasion of His Majesty’s 61st Birthday.
In the same year, the Party went through a rejuvenating process under which many Division Chairmanships especially those in the West Coast were passed on to the younger echelon. Among others, Datuk V.K. Liew replaced Datuk Y.C. Lau as the Chairman of Kapayan Division and Datuk Tan Sui Fu gave way to Datuk Chin Su Phin as the Api-Api Division Chairman. Datuk V.K. Liew was later appointed as the Party’s Secretary General.
2006: Smooth Transition
Despite unanimous appeals from all 25 Divisions, Central Youth Movement, Central Wanita Movement and the Supreme Council, Party President Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat insisted to give way to allow young and able leaders to take over the helm of the Party.
On 18th August 2006, Datuk V.K. Liew and Datuk Chin Su Phin who had obtained nominations from all 25 Divisions, won the Party President and Deputy President posts without contest.
Shortly thereafter, the elected First Vice President Teo Chee Kang resigned from the post and took up the appointment as the Secretary General.
This Party Election resulted in the emergence of more than two-third new faces in the Supreme Council’s line-up. We marched into a new era.
Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, however, did not retire from politics as he remained as the State’s Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment.
2007: Turbulence over Mazu Project
On 13th April 2007, Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat resigned from the State Cabinet principally due to his differences with the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman over the State Government’s stoppage order for the construction of a Goddess of the Sea’s (Mazu) statue which was undertaken by the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation in Kudat.
Under the leadership of Datuk V.K. Liew, the Supreme Council rallied its support for the cause and struggle of Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat.
Due to Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat’s resignation, there was a minor reshuffle in the State Cabinet which saw the appointment of Vice President Datuk Liew Yun Fah as the Minister of Youth and Sports. We lost the Deputy Chief Minister post.
As the Chairman of the said Charitable Foundation, Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat has sought for legal redress. The matter is still pending adjudication by the High Court.
2008: New Era, New Challenges
There might have been a political tsunami in West Malaysia in the 12th General Election on 8th March 2008, which caused a drastic change in the Country’s political landscape, but the 4 new faces fielded by LDP whom many regarded as underdogs, scored 100% for Barisan Nasional.
Putting Party’s interest above self, Party President Datuk V.K. Liew fought courageously and recaptured the Sandakan Parliamentary Constituency which was once lost to an independent candidate. Teo Chee Kang successfully defended the Tanjong Kapor State seat with an increased majority votes.
Despite having to face many enemies from within, Pang Yuk Ming triumphed over the challenge by a Party colleague who quit the Party just days before nomination and won the Merotai State seat. Peter Pang made his debut by garnering more votes than his predecessor in the Karamunting State seat which he won comfortably.
Datuk V.K. Liew was appointed as the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, thus became the first Sabahan to hold such position in the Federal Government. Peter Pang was appointed to the State Cabinet as the Minister of Youth and Sports.
After the victorious moments, the Party leadership took firm disciplinary actions against a small group of leaders who were found to have acted against the interests of the Party in the just concluded General Election. After the conduct of an enquiry by the Disciplinary Committee, the Party membership of Datuk Liew Yun Fah, Sia Kee Wei, Francis Chang Yin Kong, Vun Nyuk On and Lawrence Tan Ken Yee were terminated.
The Party now embarks on a NEW ERA. We are confident in facing new challenges under the leadership of Datuk V.K. Liew.