Kitingan: “Double Six” tragedy needs a memorial with a proper statue

KOTA KINABALU – It’s time to erect a monument at the crash site of the plane in Sembulan, which claimed 11 lives. This includes Tun Fuad Stevens, Sabah’s first and fiveth chief minister.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan agreed with the former chief minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee that Sabah Air’s Nomad aircraft should be placed at Sembulan memorial site.

It is believed that the Nomad aircraft acquired by the Usno led government in 1975 at the same time the plane crashed, may be the last one in existence.

Yong stated that the map is still intact and used occasionally for mapping missions across the country.

Why not? Kitingan said that it would be nice to have the plane on site.

The monument, which is also called the Double Six Memorial, consists of an archway, obelisk, and plaques that list the names and facts about the tragedy in Grace Park, Sembulan.

Kitingan said this event should also be included in the history books of the country, as suggested Sunduvan Sabah.

“This is an important historical event that has many implications on the state. It is fine to include it in the history books. “People need to understand and know what happened”, he said, after attending the 48th Double Six Commemorative Ceremony on Thursday (6 June).

Fuad, along with several ministers of state, was among the 11 people on the Nomad 9M-ATZ aircraft that crashed into Sembulan water as it approached Kota Kinabalu’s airport runway after a short flight to Labuan from June 6, 1976.

Double Six was also used to refer to the date of June 6, in reference to this tragedy.

Fuad was not the only one killed. Also, state ministers Datuks Peter Mojuntin, Chong Thien Van, Finance Minister Datuk Salleh Sullong, Assistant Minister Datuk Darius Binning, Sabah Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Datuk Wahid P. Andu, Isak Athan (private secretary of Tengku Razaleigh Hazah, then Finance minister), Kpl. Said Mohammad, (Fuad’s bodyguard), Capt Gandhi J. Nathan,

“This is an extremely sad day not only for the families of those who died, but also for the whole state.” Kitingan said that it was even more tragic because the victims were returning to Sabah from Labuan, where they had attended a meeting for signing an oil contract.

Kitingan stated that the matter remains a mystery despite the Transport Ministry declassifying the crash report last year.

“Sabah is still seeking answers. I wonder why representatives from the state came to Sabah on June 14th, less than a week following the crash to ask the leaders of the state to sign an oil agreement.

This indicates that there was no agreement reached in Labuan. Why were they so eager to sign the document while families still grieved for their loved one’s? He asked why Sabah, which was still in mourning, had to be rushed through the signing process.

Kitingan expressed his disappointment at the signed agreement. He said that the state would lose many of its rights if it surrendered its oil to federal government in exchange for a 5 percent royalty.

He said, “This is likely why we don’t have enough resources to develop our State and are amongst the poorest of the country.”

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