It is in order that the unfortunate case of the air crash over Sembulan on June 6, 1976 be pursued as 11 lives including those of the first chief minister of Sabah Muhammad Fuad Donald Stephens and some state cabinet members were lost. The impact of that incident had vibrations throughout the world from a land once so peaceful.
The months that followed were equally held in great suspense as everyone was looking forward to the official report on the tragic event. But till today, nothing in paper has been produced. In the context of transparency, the non-availability of the 'report' is a black mark for Malaysia.
It may be out of sight but in the minds of many, this incident cannot be forgotten particularly when seen in light of the 20 point agreement (1963) and the Petronas deal in 1976. Many may say that the crash had nothing to do with these two matters. Whatever it is, things were definitely not the same after the crash.
The Petronas deal was concluded with Sabah being forever entitled to 5 percent royalty only. What happened to the 20 points and Malaysian Constitution is already known.
It was also reported that the test pilot who examined the wreck of the Nomad plane soon perished in another plane crash in Australia, although it is believed that he had already submitted the full report to the relevant authorities in Malaysia. There were also speculation that the report was to be made public but nothing has actually happened.
Was there a bomb or was there not? Why not re-open the case with public participation after 29 years to determine the cause of the tragic event and put to rest the lost souls and the families concerned?
Some people may have been worried in 1976 about coming forward for fear of losing their jobs and for their personal safety. But now, after nearly 30 years, such appearance in a public forum could be seen a different perspective.
There are still quite a handful of people still around who saw the site of the crash as it is a just few minutes from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The people working at the control tower could still be around to provide some relevant information minutes before the crash.
Let these people come forward. What has happened cannot be undone, but Sabah can sort of be set free and we can then move forward.