Monday, April 05, 2010
Jeffrey: Ku Li's disclosure links crash to oil deal
Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMa), an ad-hoc apolitical NGO, said a re-visit of the 1976 crash which killed Sabah chief minister Donald Fuad Stephens would answer the question of whether the subsequent oil agreement between Sabah and the federal government was valid.
The NGO, which is dedicated to “reversing the re-colonialisation of Sabah and Sarawak since 1963”, said it was now imperative that the matter be re-investigated because the crash had occurred hours before Stephens was to have handed over Sabah's oil rights to the federal government.
There has long been a suspicion that there was no proper investigation of the June 6,1976 air crash which killed Stephens and half his Cabinet.
Until today there are also many conspiracy theories surrounding the causes of the crash.
Said CigMa chairman Dr Jeffrey Kitingan: “His (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's) talk is enough for the authorities to re-open the probe into the air crash.”
Tengku Razaleigh, former Petronas chairman and finance minister, had during a talk, “Minyak Sabah Untuk Siapa" (Sabah’s Oil for Whom?) at the Hongkod Koisaan last Friday made new disclosures of the 1976 air crash.
In an immediate reaction, former chief minister and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee had on Sunday called for investigations to be re-opened based on Tengku Razaleigh’s disclosure.
Yesterday, Jeffrey, after consulting with senior CigMa activists here last night, presented his analysis of the crash based on Tengku Razaleigh’s revelations.
He pointed out several inconsistencies, oversights, exclusion of evidence and errors in the earlier probe.
Jeffrey, who is also Sabah PKR vice-president, is convinced that the new investigation will show that the 1976 oil agreement entered between Petronas and the Sabah government is legally void.
He believes that there could be elements of “coercion” and “fraud” which would be exposed during a new investigation.
“An agreement is something that is valid and exists in law. It must demonstrate offer, acceptance, no revocation, capacity, intent, consideration, certainty, free consent -- that is, no coercion or fraud -- and it must not be illegal,” he said.
Noting that Tengku Razaleigh had stressed during his talk that “the oil agreement exists and is valid in law”, Jeffrey, however, said Tengku Razaleigh did not cite any evidence to support his contention besides referring to legislation on the matter.
An intriguing question that pops up after Tengku Razaleigh's talk is why Stephens did not sign the oil agreement in Labuan as scheduled.
Tengku Razaleigh insisted during his talk that Stephens planned to sign the oil agreement later that night in Kota Kinabalu.
Jeffrey said that confidence was merely based on the presence of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Yaakub who had earlier signed the oil agreement.
He inferred from this that Sabah was expected to “meekly follow the Sarawak example perhaps with a little persuasion from Rahman Yaakub who was already beholden to the federal government as a proxy”.
“Everyone knows that Rahman was being propped up by the federal government after the ouster of the independent-minded Sarawak National Party and Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan under an emergency decree.”
Numerous researchers point out that it is hard to believe that Stephen promised to sign the oil agreement later in the night in Kota Kinabalu, contending that if he had any intention to do so he would have done it in Labuan as scheduled.
Jeffrey, the younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, subscribes to the same theory.
“Since he refused to sign the oil agreement in Labuan, it’s highly unlikely that he would have agreed to sign it in Kota Kinabalu just a few hours later,” he said.
He also believes that Stephens would never have assented to something that his predecessor and childhood friend, Mustapha Harun, had earlier rejected.
“These two, like many Sabah leaders, always consulted each other privately even as they clashed in public.”
He points out that this leads to a disturbing feature of the crash, widely known as the “Double Six Tragedy” -- whether the so-called signing ceremony facilitated the implementation of Plan B -- the air crash to wipe out almost the entire anti-oil agreement Sabah Cabinet in one fell swoop.
Describing the case of Sabah as a repeat of what transpired in Sarawak, Jeffrey claims that the ouster of Mustapha's Usno government was arranged after he refused to accept the words “in perpetuity” in the draft oil agreement.
'The Politics of Federalism – Syed Kechik in East Malaysia' book backs up this theory.
Jeffrey pointed out that what is certain is that Tengku Razaleigh had already belted up in his seat in the ill-fated aircraft before he was asked to disembark by then Deputy Chief Minister Harris Salleh.
He noted that there appeared to be some confusion on whether Harris was also initially seated in the same aircraft or was not among the passengers.
“If he was not among the passengers, did he ask only Tengku Razaleigh or did he also invite Rahman and one other unnamed person to exit the aircraft?” asked Kitingan.
He said Tengku Razaleighi’s account last Friday appeared to suggest that it was he (Tengku Razaleigh) who invited Rahman and the third person in turn to follow him after being invited by Harris to disembark from the aircraft.
"What cannot be disputed is that Harris’s invitation to Tengku Razaleigh to disembark was a clear breach of protocol and courtesy as his boss, Stephens, was the host aboard the ill-fated aircraft, said Jeffrey.
The oil agreement was more important than a cattle-rearing project in Pulau Banggi, which is still the poorest place in Malaysia, he added.
There was no reason, for Harris and Tengku Razaleigh, to give priority to visiting the cattle-rearing project over the oil agreement unless it was already a done deal.
It is as if some people knew that there would be no signing ceremony in Kota Kinabalu, he said.