KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee vows to continue seeking the truth about the 1976 air crash that killed then chief minister Fuad Stephens and 10 others.
“This is because the air crash remains a matter of public interest that affected Sabahans as well as Sabah’s fate and natural resources,” he told FMT.
Yong said this after the Federal Court awarded former Sabah chief minister Harris Salleh RM600,000 in damages for defamation over the incident, known as the “Double Six” tragedy.
Yong was said to have published a statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the tragedy, along with some embellishment.
In 2010, Harris filed a RM50 million suit against Yong and SAPP for allegedly insinuating that Harris was involved in causing the plane crash.
Harris won the libel suit in 2012, and the Kota Kinabalu High Court ordered Yong and SAPP to pay RM1 million in damages.
However, the Court of Appeal in 2013 set aside the decision and allowed the appeal by Yong and SAPP with costs of RM150,000. It also ordered Harris to refund the amount paid to him by Yong and SAPP.
Questions over the Double Six tragedy remain fresh in the minds of Sabahans, especially as the official report on the crash is still sealed.
This has led to various allegations of foul play due to political circumstances at the time.
A monument known as the Double Six Monument was built at the crash site to commemorate the tragedy.
A book titled “Peter J Mojuntin – The Golden Son of the Kadazan” contains a detailed description of the events before, during and following the crash.
However, it was banned by the home ministry after its publication in May 1978.
The ministry said this was to ensure “public safety as the book was very critical of the federal government”.