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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sabah parties urge full report on plane crash that killed first CM

KOTA KINABALU - Real closure will only happen if the government releases the full report on the plane crash that claimed 11 lives 41 years ago, said a spokesperson from Gabungan Sabah (United Sabah Alliance) today.

Gabungan members, consisting of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah, visited the Double Six Monument here to remember those who perished in the 1976 tragedy.

Among the 11 was Sabah’s first chief minister Fuad Stephens. Stephens held the position from September 1963 to December 1964, and for a second term from April to June 1976.

Stephens, along with finance minister Salleh Sulong, minister of local government and housing Peter Mojuntin, works and communication minister Chong Thien Vun and several other top government officials were flying from Labuan back to Kota Kinabalu when their plane crashed into Sembulan waters.

After investigations, then deputy communication minister Mohd Ali M Sharif announced that the crash was due to “human error” but the full findings were classified as a state secret under the Official Secrets Act.

SAPP vice-president Aloysius Siap, who was chairman of Gabungan’s memorial organising committee, said the matter can only be put to rest if the government declassifies the report.

“Today, we are again remembering the tragic incident that took place 41 years ago. What we want is the truth, because the truth must prevail,” he told reporters after the ceremony.

“We know some family members have put the matter to rest and we respect their wishes, but there’s no real closure here.

“It’s not opening old wounds. The people of Sabah deserve to know the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

“We’d also like to suggest that June 6 be made a holiday in the state so that all Sabahans, especially our young generation, remember the sacrifices our previous leaders made for us.”

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