KOTA KINABALU: A former Sabah state secretary and a key person in the setting up of Keningau’s Oath Stone, Tan Sri Richard Lind (pic), passed away yesterday.
Lind, who played an important role in convincing the interior natives to agree to the formation of Malaysia through installing the Keningau Batu Sumpah or Oath Stone, breathed his last peacefully at his house in Signal Hill here.
Douglas Lind, a veteran lawyer and legal adviser to the previous state government, said his father died peacefully before his 99th birthday.
“Funeral arrangements will be made known later, ” he said.
Lind, who served as state secretary under the Usno state government, was instrumental in having Batu Sumpah placed a year after the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963.
This was because after the formation of Malaysia, Sabah’s first appointed chief minister Donald (later named Tun Fuad) Stephens found out that the natives still did not agree to the formation.
Stephens then asked Lind, who was then a resident of Keningau, to find out the reason.
Lind met with locals like Sedomon Gunsanad, who was the native chief of Keningau at that time, as well as other natives to find out the reason for their apprehension on the merger.
He noted that their concerns mainly pertained to the freedom of religion despite Islam being the official religion, state jurisdiction over lands and upholding native customs.
Although these core demands were contained in the 20 Points safeguards, the natives said they did not trust what was agreed on paper and wanted it to be cast in stone.
Following this, the Oath Stone was erected and unveiled on Aug 21,1965, witnessed by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong and federal ministers, among other dignitaries.