KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal on Thursday described the late Sandakan MP Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt as a people-oriented leader.
“Today, we have lost a friend, a comrade, a people-oriented minister who had worked tirelessly regardless of time. We sympathise with his family,” he told reporters at the Queen Elizabeth I Hospital here.
Wong died at the hospital from a suspected heart attack. He was 64.
Shafie said Wong was an old friend in his political struggle, and more so when setting up the Sabah government.
He said he was informed that Wong had participated in a hike up a hill early today and that at about 9 am he had complained of chest pains.
“Wong was rushed to the hospital and he suffered a heart attack. I do not know whether he had a record (of a heart ailment). I was informed by the medical specialists (at the hospital) that a heart attack could have been the cause of death,” he said.
Mohd Shafie said he feels that he has lost a friend who has helped the people a lot.
“Wong was a minister fully committed to helping the people,” he said.
It is learned that Wong hiked up the hill at about 6.30 am with a group of climbers at the Tambaig Adventure Park in Kampung Duvanson, Putatan, near Kota Kinabalu.
Wong was with his wife and some officials during the hike organised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI), and was seen in a video listening to a guide’s explanation of the area.
Family friends said on his way back, Wong collapsed in his car and was rushed to Queen 1, arriving at emergency department at 9.32 am.
Wong was already unconscious by then and no pulse was felt. Doctors tried to resuscitated for more then two hours .
The Sandakan lawmaker was pronounce dead at 12.15pm.
The cause of death clinically is said to be acute coronary syndrome with cardiogenic shock.
Wong had been the Sandakan MP for two terms, first winning the seat in 2013 when he defeated then LDP president Liew Vui Kiong at the 13GE.
In GE14 last year, Wong kept his seat after beating newcomer Lim Ming Hoo of the LDP with a 10,098 majority and served as a government MP after the ruling Barisan Nasional party was overthrown in the election.
He was also appointed a state assemblyman in May last year and entrusted with the Health and People’s Wellbeing portfolio.
Aslo at the Queen 1 Hospital was deputy Chief Ministers, Datuk Jaujan Sambakong and Datuk Christina Liew, as well as Shafie’s wife, Datin Shuryani Shuaib, several assistant ministers, assemblymen and DAP party leaders.
Wong’s remains are currently lying at the Fook Lu Siew Funeral Parlour at Mile 2, Jalan Tuaran.
His remains are expected to be flown to Sandakan on Friday though the date of the funeral rites have yet to be confirmed.
Wong leaves behind a wife, a son and three daughters, along with two grand chilkdren.
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