Chong a hero for fighting for Mazu statue, says LDP chief

By Michael Kaung, Free MalaysiaToday

KOTA KINABALU: Barisan Nasional component party leader VK Liew (pic) is upset with the state government over how it toppled what would have been the world’s tallest Mazu statue sited in Kudat on the East Coast of Sabah.

“Like it or not, what happened in Kudat has gone down in history and history will judge the conscience, the good deed and sincerity of Chong Kah Kiat,” said the Liberal Democratic party chief.

“Now that the Federal Court has ruled against the legality of the Thean Hou Foundation that may have affected the continuation of the construction of the Mazu, it is not an end of a journey,” added Liew, who is also a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He was commenting on Monday’s unanimous decision by a five-man Federal Court bench to dismiss a leave application by the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation chairman Chong to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision that the state government used to stop the project.

The Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) statue project was abruptly cancelled by the state government led by Chief Minister Musa Aman after it had been granted approval by the state authorities earlier.

The cancellation of the project led to a bitter Chong resigning from the state cabinet and filing a suit against the state government which dragged on through the courts until last week.

Liew, who took over from Chong after he stepped down as LDP chief, was quick to laud his former boss as a hero.

“History will judge our actions, our deeds and our sincerity,” he said, quoting a famous Malay proverb “Gajah mati meninggalkan gading, (Elephant dies by leaving its tusk) Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, (Tiger dies by leaving its skin) Manusia mati meninggalkan nama.” (Man dies by leaving his name) to emphasise his disappointment.

“At the same time, history will gauge and judge those who have oppressed him (Chong) in his cause and struggle,” he said when asked to comment on the recent court ruling that brought an end to the former Sabah chief minister’s bid to erect the statue in his hometown.

“We must not be confused with the offer to relocate and the construction of another Statute of Mazu by another association as there are two different sets of circumstances confronting the matter,” he pointed out when asked about the offer by the state government to relocate the statue to another site.

Political will needed

Liew, who is also the MP for Sandakan, said that the best solution to the issue lies in the political will of those who can make a difference to the deadlocked issue.