By Matthias Hermes
Kota Kinabalu: The Double Six disaster should not only be remembered as a tragic event but as a history-changing tragedy and be remembered and used to chart Sabah’s future course.
This is the opinion of STAR Sabah Chief Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan who attended a memorial service organized by STAR Sabah at the Double 6 Monument in Sembulan Thursday to pay their respects and tribute to the fallen heroes in the tragic plane crash.
“We need to reflect on some of the events like the signing of the Sabah Oil Agreement a short eight days after the crash which until today altered Sabah’s wealth inheritance,” said Jeffrey in a statement today.
He said this lopsided agreement led to a massive 95 per cent loss in oil revenue, and a wholesale failure of development.
“As a result, today, we see that Sabah lost RM17.88 billlion in oil revenue in 2012 (with Sabah getting only a pittance RM941.25 million) and became the poorest State in Malaysia from 2010,” he added.
Jeffrey maintained that from once a rich and proud nation in 1970, Sabah is now a colony of Malaya, and its riches and wealth plundered to finance overall development in Malaya.
“Sabahans meanwhile not only suffer the ignominy and shame of abject poverty caused by leaders from Kuala Lumpur, but also lack of supply of clean treated water, lack of basic amenities and a total abandonment and failure to build a proper sealed road network throughout the State.
The plane crash on June 6, 1976 had horrifically claimed 11 lives including the late Tun Fuad Stephens and 3 of his senior Ministers, and their loss is still felt today not only by their families and loved ones but by all Sabahans, said the Bingkor lawmaker.
More tragically, he said, the tragedy changed the course of Sabah and brought about dire consequences in which all Sabahans are still suffering from until today.
Sabah ended up being downgraded from nationhood status to being the 12th State in Malaysia in August 1976, he said, and the Head of State position downgraded to “Yang DiPertua Negeri” from “Yang DiPertua Negara”.
Jeffrey also lamented that Sabah’s security and sovereignty were then mortgaged and compromised; the demographics of the natives population totally changed forever and political franchise usurped by the wanton issuance of dubious ICs and later MyKads to unqualified foreigners openly declared to be born in Sabah when they were not.
“The manipulation was later magnified and multiplied by the so-called “Project IC/Mahathir” and “Ops Durian Buruk”, he charged.
“We need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and learn from the painful and bitter lessons of the tragic Double 6 and its consequences,” he added.
“We need to remember the tragedy to avoid making the same mistakes and at the same time to rectify whatever past mistakes and use the lesson learnt to chart Sabah’s future.”