KOTA KINABALU: The history changing Double 6 Tragedy is slowly but surely awakening Sabahans to their losses arising from the tragic incident and helping to shape Sabah’s future.
STAR Sabah chief Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said this after attending a joint memorial service organised by STAR Sabah and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) at the Double 6 Monument in Sembulan yesterday morning to pay their respects and tribute to the fallen heroes in the tragic plane crash.
The plane crash claimed the life of Sabah’s first chief minister Tun Fuad Stephens and several of his cabinet ministers.
“Now in hindsight, the tragedy not only resulted in a change of chief minister and cabinet ministers but it changed the course of Sabah’s history and Sabah’s rights,” said Jeffrey.
Foremost, he said Sabah lost its oil and gas resources and only received 5 per cent oil royalty from Petronas.
“Today, Sabahans are standing up and demanding not only an increase of the 5 per cent cash payment or oil royalty but also seeking the return of the oil ownership rights.
“Sabah leaders, especially the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government, are now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea for not demanding an increase in the oil royalty as has been openly done by Sarawak leaders.
“Sabahans would probably not be mourning if these leaders now were to choose to jump into the beautiful and pristine blue seas off Kota Kinabalu compared to the continued remembrance of those heroes who perished in the 1976 plane crash,” he said.
Jeffrey added equally important, Sabah lost its nationhood status after being downgraded to being the 12th state in Malaysia in August 1976 and the Head of State downgraded to “Yang DiPertua Negeri” from “Yang DiPertua Negara”.
With growing awareness of Sabah’s history and part in the formation of Malaysia, he said Sabahans are now demanding a review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and restoration of its rights and autonomy.
The only obstacles standing in the way of these rights are the present Sabah BN government and the BN federal government.
With the people’s awakening now, it will only be a matter of time before Sabahans choose the path of self-determination and their future destiny.
“Sabahans are beginning to learn the mistakes of the past and learn from the painful and bitter lessons of the tragic Double 6 and its consequences.
“Sabahans are beginning to take pro-active steps to protect their homeland and chart their future on their own,” said Jeffrey who is also Bingkor assemblyman.