In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Federation of Malaysia, the National Archives of Malaysia is compiling complete data and information on the life of former state leaders in order to build the ‘Memorial Negarawan’ (Statesmen Memorial).
The memorial is intended to be used as an information archive containing historical data and personal contribution of Sabah’s past leaders. With the establishment of this memorial, the public will be able to conduct research on Sabah’s history.
One of the most prominent leaders in Sabah’s earlier days to be documented in the memorial is the late Tun Haji Mohammad Fuad Stephens – Sabah’s first Chief Minister and the man who played a big role in bringing Sabah into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.
In memory of Tun Fuad Stephens, the National Archives of Malaysia has organized a Q&A session on the life and times of Tun Fuad Stephens on Thursday. This Q&A session is aimed at allowing the public – especially the younger generation of Sabah – to get to know more about Tun Fuad , his political life as well as his personal life.
The panel of speakers consists of Tan Sri Abdul Majid Khan, the former Political Secretary to Tun Fuad and Toh Puan Rahimah Stephens, Tun Fuad’s widow and Asgari Stephens, son of Tun Fuad.
Tan Sri Abdul Majid Khan described Tun Fuad as a passionate leader who was genuinely interested in the solidarity of the people of North Borneo.
“Tun was the one who came up with the 20-point memorandum before North Borneo joined the Federation of Malaysia,” said Majid, adding that people had often mistakenly thought that the memorandum was a Chinese-led initiative.
Asgari Stephens was only 16-years-old when his father was killed in an air crash at Sembulan, known as the Double Six tragedy.
“My father was a jolly and outgoing man. He was an especially good linguist, able to converse in most Sabahan dialects, Mandarin, Bahasa Malaysia and able to read and write in Jawi,” Asgari said,
“I am happy that partly because of him, Sabah is now a peaceful state,” he said.