KOTA KINABALU, Nov 23 ― Veteran politician and former Sabah DAP chief Jimmy Wong has quit the party, citing internal politics.

He blamed the new leadership for ousting three lawmakers and prominent leaders from the party’s state committee in the recent Sabah DAP election, namely Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, former Wanita chief and Kepayan assemblyman Jannie Lasimbang, as well as Elopura assemblyman Calvin Chong.

Wong accused the new leadership of not appreciating the struggles of party pioneers.

“As a party pioneer in the state, I had brought many of the current leaders into the party, and was responsible for grooming them and contributed to bringing up DAP in Sabah to where it is today. Yet I was not even invited to the state polls and was dropped as the advisor,” he said in a statement last night.

Wong had been with the party since 2007. He was Sabah DAP chief from 2013 to 2017, and was outspoken as an elected representative for Sri Tanjung and Kota Kinabalu.

Although he did not name anyone, Wong described the new Sabah DAP leadership as being exclusive and predicted that it would cause the party's downfall.

Tanjung Papat assemblyman Frankie Poon was recently elected as Sabah DAP chief.  The result was not a surprise as he took over from the late Datuk Stephen Wong in 2019.

Other elected representatives who made the cut into the Sabah DAP's top 15 list were Luyang assemblyman Ginger Phoong who is the party's state secretary, taking over from Chan; Tenom MP Noorita Sual who is vice-chairman, Sandakan MP Vivian Wong who is state publicity secretary; and Likas assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt who was named as her assistant.

“There is no valid reason why they cannot include the others in,” Wong said, referring to Chan, Lasimbang, Chong and former senator Adrian Lasimbang.

“They have been working hard for the party ― I don’t know why the newcomers squeezed them out,” he added.

Chan, in an immediate reaction last Sunday said that it was an unexpected result which took him by surprise but said it would not stop him from serving as an MP.

“This was not the first time I had faced defeat in the DAP state election - the last time was in November 2015. In fact, I had lost once contesting in the Tawau parliamentary seat in 2008, but that did not deter me from continuing to work hard,” he said.