KENINGAU: The Oath Stone, which was erected to guarantee the natives of Sabah their rights in the Federation of Malaysia, is set to get a new and permanent home.
The Oath Stone, or Batu Sumpah, in Keningau, was at the centre of controversy some years ago when key words on the plaque affixed to the stone "Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin" (The Government of Malaysia guarantees) were removed.
It is now set to be restored with the original words.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the Oath Stone would be relocated to a piece of state land near the Heritage Museum here.
He said this comes following the allocation of RM 1.025mil approved by the Federal government for the Oath Stone's relocation.
The allocation is for the relocation, construction of new roads, a historical wall, landscaping, plaque, and parking lots.
Nazri said RM25,000 from the amount would be given to the Huguan Siou Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan for the relocation ritual, according to native customs in Keningau.
He added that the relocation was under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
Nazri said the Oath Stone was of historical importance, not only for Keningau and Sabah, but Malaysia as well.
"We in the ministry are aware of the significance of this Oath Stone and its restoration and relocation works," he said at an event here on Tuesday.
He also said that the ownership and management of the stone would be under the Sabah state government.
It will be gazetted under the Cultural Heritage Enactment (Conservation 1997) once it has been relocated.
Minister in Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and other local leaders were also present during the event.
The Oath Stone was at the centre of controversy some years ago when it was realised that the words "Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin" were missing from the plague.
It still remains a mystery as to where and when the original plaque was changed but Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has given the state government a plaque that he claimed was the original.
It has been handed over to the museum for safekeeping.
The Oath Stone was erected in the interior of Keningau on Aug 31, 1964 during a ceremony witnessed by federal and state leaders.
It served to assure Sabahans that their rights to religious freedom, land, culture and customs are guaranteed.