The plane crash on June 6 1976 which killed then Sabah Chief Minister Fuad Stephens and his cabinet, changed the course of history leading to a lopsided oil agreement.
Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chief Jeffrey Kitingan is among those who sees it as one of the key turning points in Sabah’s history.
He wants the crash to be not merely remembered as a tragic event, but also as a disaster that should now be used to chart Sabah’s future course.
Speaking after state dignitaries and relatives of the victims paid their respects at a memorial at the site of the crash, he said the crash that took place on June 6, 1976 is still felt today not only by their families but by all Sabahans.
More tragically, said the state assemblyman for Bingkor, the crash changed the course of Sabah and brought about dire consequences in which all Sabahans are still suffering from until today.
“We need to reflect on some of the events like the signing of the Sabah Oil Agreement a mere eight days after the crash which until today altered Sabah’s wealth inheritance,” he said.
He lamented that this lopsided agreement led to a massive 95% loss in oil revenue, and a wholesale failure of development.
“As a result, today, we see that Sabah lost RM17.88 billion in oil revenue in 2012 (with Sabah getting only a pittance RM941.25 million) and became the poorest state in Malaysia from 2010,” he said.
Rectify past mistakes
He said this after attending the memorial service organised by STAR Sabah at the Double 6 Monument in Sembulan, on Thursday.
“We need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and learn from the painful and bitter lessons of the tragic Double Six and its consequences.
“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,” he further stressed.
Jeffrey lamented that from a once wealthy-and-proud nation in 1970, Sabah after the formation of Malaysia in 1963 had been reduced to the status of a colony and its riches and wealth plundered to finance overall development in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Sabahans, meanwhile, not only suffer the ignominy and shame of abject poverty caused by leaders from Kuala Lumpur, but also lack supply of clean treated water, basic amenities and a proper sealed road network throughout the state.
“Sabah ended up being downgraded from nationhood status to being the 12th sate in Malaysia in August 1976 and the Head of State position downgraded to “Yang DiPertua Negeri” from “Yang DiPertua Negara”,” he pointed out.
Jeffrey added that Sabah’s security and sovereignty had also been mortgaged and compromised, the demographics of the natives population was nuetralised by the wanton issuance of dubious ICs and later MyKads to unqualified foreigners.
“The manipulation was later magnified and multiplied by the so-called “Project IC/Mahathir” and “Ops Durian Buruk”, he charged.