Malaysian assemblyman's sudden weight loss triggers speculation

KOTA KINABALU - An unexplained weight loss over the past few months is the reason why PKR Inanam assemblyman Dr Roland Chia suddenly announced his intention to vacate the seat.

Amid a flurry of political speculation over the motive of the first term assemblyman's social media postings of his intention to quit, a political associate and friend said Dr Chia's health issues were genuine.

"He (Dr Chia) has been losing weight and there was a yellowish tint to his skin. He went for a medical check-up but doctors could not find anything wrong," said the friend who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dr Chia has gone abroad for another medical examination, the friend said.

"I can say for certain that his main priority is his health and has nothing to do with politics. I believe that is why he announced his intention to quit the seat," he said.

"It is not a political fishing trip as suspected by some quarters."

Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Lajim Ukin has denied any political differences with Dr Chia while PKR central leaders have only confirmed that Dr Chia had informed them of health issues and that they would be discussing the matter with him.

Other Sabah PKR leaders claimed that assemblymen from the party were finding it difficult to operate in their constituencies due to high cost with little financial assistance from the party headquarters.

Dr Chia, a 44-year-old dental surgeon who had remained completely out of the public eye, in Facebook and Twitter postings on Dec 18, said he would make a formal media statement after Christmas.

PKR sources were unable to say at the moment whether Dr Chia was going ahead with his intention to vacate the state seat.