Vital importance to implant three pledges of Batu Sumpah Keningau in the hearts and minds of Sabah voters in 14 GE so that they can become living commitments of new Sabah state government

This morning, we gathered at the Double Six Memorial to commemorate the Double Six Tragedy 41 years ago, to honour and remember the great loss to Sabah and Malaysia when suddenly the new Sabah State Government elected in a whirlwind of hope and change in the April 15, 1976 Sabah State General Election was decapitated on the 53rd day of the election on June 6, 1976 when the new Sabah Chief Minister, Tun Fuad Stephens, three Sabah Ministers Datuk Salleh Sulong (Finance Minister), Datuk Peter Mojuntin (Local Government and Housing) and Chong Thien Vun (Works and Communications) and an Assistant Minister, Datuk Darius Binion, were among the eleven who were killed when the Nomad aircraft they were flying from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu crashed at the Kota Kinabalu airport.

The cause of the crash of the Nomad aircraft crash on 6th June 1976 has remained a mystery after 41 years, as the investigation report into the Double Six Tragedy has never been publicised and continues to be under lock and key of the Official Secrets Act.

If Pakatan Harapan can bring about a change of government in Sabah State and at the national level in Putrajaya, the first thing we will do will be to make public the investigation report into Nomad aircraft crash in the the Double Six Tragedy, as there can be more justification for keeping the investigation report under wraps for more than four decades when it should have been made public four decades ago!

A new book which was published recently, “Harris Salleh – The Rise and Fall: The Inside Story” by Paul Raffale, relates how the high hopes of the people of Sabah for change and reform in electing a new State Government in Sabah in April 1976 were dashed and destroyed.

As the Prologue of the book says, Paul Raffale tells “the story of a unique but deeply contradictory man who began life on a small coastal island and who used his intelligence and irrepressible energy to rise to the very top, ruling Sabah for almost a decade. He was the classic Greek tragedy personified – a man immensely gifted by the gods, attaining great wealth and power, but who would be cut down in his prime by the fatal flaws of so many fallen leaders, swollen with hubris and believing himself not subject to the moral code.”

Paul Raffale’s new book started with the admonition from Friedrich Nietzche: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

Our woes as Malaysians are that we have not only failed to eradicate this Sabah disease, producing monsters who think they are not subject to the moral code, it has become a more deadly disease on a greater Malaysian scale – to the extent that Malaysia has completely eclipsed Sabah as one of the most corrupt states to itself become a “global kleptocracy”. But this is the subject for another forum.

I was first elected to Parliament in 1969, but for some four decades in Parliament, I never heard or knew that there was a Batu Sumpah in Sabah, for no Sabah Member of Parliament had ever spoken about it.

I first came to know about Batu Sumpah when I visited Keningau in March 2010 and the three reciprocal pledges on religion, land and Orang Asal customs as the Sabah basis for the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

I am prepared to stand corrected but the first MP to talk about Batu Sumpah is not a Sabahan, but an MP from Peninsular Malaysia – myself after my visit to Keningau in 2010.

I spoke at length in Parliament before the 2013 General Election on the Keningau Batu Sumpah and called on all Members of Parliament, whether government or opposition, whether in Sabah, Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia, to support a Royal Commission of Inquiry to assess whether the dreams and aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians in forming Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed in the past five decades.

Since the 13th General Election, the two DAP MPs from Sabah, Jimmy Wong (Kota Kinabalu) and Stephen Wong (Sandakan) have constantly kept the Batu Sumpah pledges on religion, Orang Asal customs and land, in the limelight in the highest political chamber in the land.

The efforts of DAP MPs had not been in vain and greater significance is now being given by the authorities to Batu Sumpah.

But the importance and significance of Batu Sumpah is not as an article for tourism or heritage, as in spending RM1 million to re-locate Batu Sumpah from the Keningau District Office to a more “strategic” location, but to make the three Batu Sumpah pledges of religion, land and Orang Asal customs the living commitments of the Sabah State and Federal Governments.

This is the greatest challenge of the forthcoming 14th General Election – to implant the three pledges of Batu Sumpah Keningau in the hearts and minds of Sabah voters in 14 GE so that they become living commitments of new Sabah state and Federal governments.

This was why the DAP had launched the Batu Sumpah Awareness Campaign in September 2014 and the erection of half a dozen replicas of Batu Sumpah in various parts of the State.

The time has come to “relocate” the Batu Sumpah and its three pledges into the hearts and minds of the voters in the 14th General Election to make them the living commitments of the new Sabah state and federal governments.

This will be one great way to commemorate the Double Six Tragedy and honour and remember our leaders.

Double Six Tragedy Forum
Photo credit : Chan Foong Hin

[Speech by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang when launching the Sabah DAP forum: “Commemorating Double Six Tragedy – Honouring Our Leaders: Their Struggles, Our Fight” at Eminent Hotel, Kota Kinabalu on Monday, 6th June 2017 at 8 pm]

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