I WELCOME the Cabinet decision to declassify the full report of the federal investigation on the 1976 plane crash that killed 11 people – including the then Sabah chief minister (CM) Tun Fuad Stephens – for there is simply no reason or justification to keep the report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for 47 years.
Three reasons have been attributed to the possible cause of the Nomad aircraft crash 47 years ago – (i) aircraft overloading; (ii) pilot error or (iii) design flaw of the aircraft.
It is hoped that the declassification of the investigation report 47 years ago will bring closure to the crash which killed not only the then Sabah CM but three Sabah state ministers at the time – Datuk Salleh Sulong, Datuk Peter Mojuntin and Datuk Chong Thien Vun.
If not for the Double-Six Nomad aircraft crash, the history of Sabah may have been very different. Furthermore, I also call for the lifting of the ban on Bernard Sta Maria’s book on Peter Mojuntin, The Golden Son of the Kadazan.
In keeping with the principles of good governance and an administration which upholds transparency, openness and accountability, the next documents to be declassified are the reports of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) and the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC).
The eight-week parliamentary meeting of the opening of the 15th Parliament would have ended with a big bang if both the CEP and IRC reports were declassified and tabled as White Papers in the last week of Dewan Rakyat (ended April 4).
This is one of the five proposals I had made in January this year to make the meeting of the opening of the 15th Parliament the most memorable parliamentary meeting in Malaysian history by initiating institutional reforms for Malaysia to achieve the twin goals of uniting the plural society in Malaysia, and to reset and restore Malaysia as a first-rate world-class nation.
It is regrettable that this suggestion was not taken up. But with the declassification of the 1976 Double-Six Nomad Crash investigation report, there is even less justification to keep the CEP and IRC reports under lock and key under the OSA.
This declassification of the CEP and IRC reports by the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government is all the more urgent and necessary as it was never the original intention to classify both the CEP and IRC reports under the OSA and keep them away from public debate and discussion.
I had made numerous calls for the publication of the CEP and IRC Reports, the first time as far back as Oct 13, 2018 when I cited the CEP Chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin as calling on the government to make the CEP recommendations available to the public.
I had always been mystified as to why the seventh prime minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had refused to ask the Cabinet and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council to declassify the CEP and IRC reports in 2018 or 2019.
The very fact that Dr Mahathir had kept his silence on this issue is evidence that he realised what he did wrong and had betrayed the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and personalities who had given their views on institutional reforms to the CEP and IRC.
The Anwar unity government should not compound Dr Mahathir’s mistake by continuing to keep the CEP and IRC reports under lock and key under the OSA. – April 6, 2023