PETALING JAYA: Former Sabah chief minister Harris Salleh has filed for leave to commence judicial review proceedings in Malaysia and Australia to make public the findings of investigations into the Double Six plane crash on June 6, 1976.
The Double Six tragedy that involved the Nomad 9M-ATZ aircraft in Kota Kinabalu killed then newly-elected chief minister Fuad Stephens and 10 others, some of whom were leaders in the state government then.
Following the crash, the Australian manufacturer of the GAF Nomad plane, accompanied by officials of the Australian transport department launched an investigation to prove that the crash was not due to mechanical issues.
The probe was completed four months later but the full report was never made public and was classified under the Official Secrets Act instead. It remains classified till today.
Harris filed the leave application in Malaysia on July 1, naming the Chief Secretary, the transport minister and the Malaysian government as respondents, Daily Express reported.
He filed a similar application in Australia, with the director-general of the National Archives of Australia, for the release of the investigation report conducted by the manufacturer of the GAF Nomad plane.
He is represented by counsel Alex Decena and Jordan Kong.
Harris’ lawyers said failing to declassify the Malaysian investigation report was “illegal” as the information contained in the report concerned matters of public interest, especially for Sabahans.
They said Harris also had the right under Articles 8 and 10 of the Federal Constitution to the information contained in the investigation report.
They added that there was no basis under the law to keep the contents of the report confidential, saying this contravened Section 2C of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), when read together with Articles 8 and 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Section 2C of the OSA states that a minister or public officer may declassify a document classified under the Act at any time.
Two newly sworn-in state ministers were also on the ill-fated flight with Fuad, namely local government and housing minister Peter Joinud Mojuntin as well as communications and works minister Chong Thien Vun.