Preserving state heritage

Ten years after the death of one of the founding fathers of the Federation of Malaysia, a step is being taken to preserve a part of his heritage. 

Two run down houses of Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, an office boy who became the first Governor of Sabah, is likely to be preserved as historical heritage sites. 

The question of preserving Mustapha’s homes that are under receivership was raised at the state legislative assembly by Samsudin Yahya (Umno - Sekong).  

Sarawak Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Wong Soon Koh (left) and UniversitiMalaysia Sarawak board of management chairman Tan Sri Bujang Mohd Nor (centre) lookingat a piece of art by Dr Khairul Aidil Azlin Abdul Rahman (right), head ofthe Design Technology Programme of the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts.

He asked if the state was taking steps to preserve the homes of the father of Sabah Merdeka in the same way the house of British colonial writer Agnes Keith was preserved on a hill in Sandakan. 

To this, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat said the state, through the State Musuem, was negotiating over the two houses in Tanjung Aru, in the capital city, and in Kudat, in the north of Sabah. 

Present in the house was one of Tun Mustapha’s sons, Datuk Amirkahar (Umno - Banggi), who told The Star that he had tried to buy his father’s houses from Danaharta but his bids were rejected. 

The legacy of Tun Mustapha ended with his death in Jan 1995, four years after he dissolved Usno to allow the entry of Umno in Sabah. 

Chong also disclosed that his ministry was keen to preserve the homes of other early Sabah leaders like Tun Mohd Fuad Stephens, Datuk Peter Mojuntin, Datuk G.S. Sundang and Datuk Khoo Siak Cheu among others. 

Backbencher Datuk Patawari Patawe (Umno - Sebatik) urged authorities to ensure strict scrutiny was carried out at all border crossings to check the movement of fowls and birds from nearby countries. 

“We must be proactive in ensuring Sabah remains free of the bird flu,” he said when debating on the RM1.8bil Budget for 2006 tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman on Friday. 

Dr Pataware said that experts believed the bird flu, caused by the Influenza A Strain H5N1 virus, was expected to become a worldwide pandemic next year once the virus mutates to spread between humans.  

He said that all the steps were necessary to protect the health of the people and protect Sabah’s tourism industry which could be badly affected in the event bird flu was detected in the state.  

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