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Downgrading event upset natives: Kurup
Published on: Saturday, September 15, 2018

Keningau: Natives in the interior are angry over the manner the Oath Stone was relocated which saw none of the local leaders invited for the occasion. Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said it was equivalent to not recognising them as leaders.

In addition, the keywords in the original plaque, "Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin - Federal Government Guarantees", were also missing.

Kurup was referring to Paramount Leader (Huguan Siou) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Datuk Ayub Aman, Tan Sri RM Jasni, Tan Sri Suffian Koroh, Justin Sodomon who is the son of the architect of the Oath Stone OKK Datuk Sedomon, and members of his family, all of whom were reportedly not invited to witness the relocation of Sabah's important piece of history.

"Apparently, there were strict instructions from one of the Deputy Chief Ministers in charge of tourism that only Pakatan leaders were to be invited," he said in a statement.

He said Chinese community leaders who supported the idea of the Oath Stone in the first place were also not invited. He said a Federal Minister should also have been invited to give due recognition to the event.

"The interior natives of Sabah consider the Batu Sumpah (Oath Stone) a holy and sacred symbol of our nation. The purpose of relocating it is to accord it a proper and permanent home which is accessible to the public and to help our future generations understand how a country called Malaysia came into being. Hence due respect must be accorded to the Oath Stone," he said.

Kurup said the absence of the leaders begs the question of the attitude of the new government which proclaims to look after the interests of the multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-cultural populace of Sabah for unity, peace and harmony, but at the same time acts otherwise.

The Batu Sumpah was unveiled on Aug 31, 1964 by Federal Minister Tan Sri Manickavasagam as a representative of the country's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Kurup recalled that the leaders present at the event at that time were Sabah Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens, Datuk GS Sundang, Federal Secretary Yeep Kee Aik, District Officer Richard Lind (now Tan Sri), OKK Sedomon Gunsanad and OKK Angian Andulag.

Shortly afterwards, he said, the third Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Putra Ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail and the Raja Permaisuri paid homage to the Oath Stone as a symbol of the formation of Malaysia.

He said accompanying the King at that time were Sabah Head of State Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, OKK Sedomon, Lind and other community leaders.

"Such was the magnitude of respect and honour given to the Oath Stone by our great leaders," he said.

In contrast, Kurup pointed out that the relocation ceremony on Sept 9 did not see the presence of KDM leaders and without any national leaders, but only a political secretary of the State Tourism Minister.

"What a mockery to the natives of Sabah when our Oath Stone has gone from the recognition of a King down to the level of a political secretary. Maybe the new Tourism Minister thinks our Oath Stone is merely a tourism object," he added.

He went on to mention that the act of mockery represents a continuation of what the Pakatan Harapan component party did previously in relation to the Oath Stone in order to gain political mileage.

"They went on campaign with their replica Oath Stones. They built replica stones in Moyog, Kionsom in Inanam, Mempulut in Keningau, Mansiat in Sook and one near the old Keningau hospital. They performed the holy 'Maningolig' ritual by slaughtering chickens and then left the chickens all over the stones. They also put up their party flags behind their replica Oath Stones. This is such mockery to our scared culture," said Kurup.


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