Mustapha Harun

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Tun Mustapha
1st Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah
In office
1963–1965
Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Tun Pengiran Haji Ahmad Raffae Pengiran Othman
3rd Chief Minister of Sabah
In office
1967–1975
Preceded by Peter Lo Sui Yin
Succeeded by Mohammad Said bin Keruak
Personal details
Born (1918-07-31)31 July 1918
Kudat, British North Borneo
Died 2 January 1995(1995-01-02) (aged 76)
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Political party United Sabah National Organisation (1961-1990)
United Malays National Organisation (1990-1994)
Religion Islam

Tun Datu Haji Mustapha bin Datu Harun or Tun Mustapha for short, was the first governor of the Malaysian state of Sabah. He was also the third Chief Minister of the state from 1967 to 1975, and was the president for the political party United Sabah National Organisation (USNO). He is considered by some to be one of the founding leaders of Sabah and was an important party in the negotiations leading to the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.[1]

He is known to some as the "father of Sabah's independence" and also the "father of Sabah's development".[2] However, he is also considered by many Sabahan opposition leaders who later formed the new party BERJAYA as a dictator and alleged to misappropriated huge sums of money from the state's coffers (primarily through timber concessions) to support his lavish lifestyle.

Personal life[edit]

Tun Mustapha was not born in anywhere in the Sulu Archipelago. But he is a distant relative of the Sultan of Sulu. He was born in Kampung Limau-limauan, Kudat. He is of Suluk-Bajau origin (Bajau Bannaran /Bajau Kudat and not Bajau Ubian).[3]

World war II[edit]

During World War II, he was wanted by the Japanese forces because of the rebellions he led against them, mainly in Kudat during the Japanese occupation. But when they could not find him, they caught his younger brother and eventually killed him because his brother would not reveal where he was hiding. Albert Kwok invited Tun Mustapha to join in the Jesselton Revolt but he advised Kwok to wait and prepare, saying the time wasn't right for insurrection. However Kwok was forced to launch the revolt ahead of schedule because the Chinese were going to be subjected to conscription by the Japanese. Kwok was joined in the revolt by Suluks and Bajau under Panglima Ali. The revolt failed and the Japanese engaged in large scale massacres of Suluk civilians, including women and children.

Appointment to Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah[edit]

Mustapha founded the party United Sabah National Organisation, better known by the acronym USNO. He, together with Donald Stephens, are often credited as important figures in Sabah in bringing forth Sabah's independence and in the formation of Malaysia in 1963. When Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, he became the first Yang di-Pertua Negeri (governor) of Sabah.

Appointment to chief minister of Sabah[edit]

In the 1967 state election, USNO won, and Mustapha became the third Chief Minister of Sabah.

When he was Chief Minister, his relationship with the Malaysian central government was not very good. Although the central government, represented by the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, was a partner of USNO, they were worried about certain stances taken by Mustapha, in particular, his intention or threat to secede Sabah from Malaysia. Mustapha also refused to sign an oil agreement with the federal government which stated that only 5% of Sabah's oil revenue will be given to the state. Mustapha demanded at least 30% for the development of Sabah where it will be drilled.[4]

Mustapha also succeeded in converting a significant number of non-Muslim indigenous people in Sabah into Muslim.[5] Aside from his involvement in politics and religion (Islam), he also made contributions in the education of Sabah. He mooted the idea of forming Sabah Foundation (Yayasan Sabah) and was responsible in setting up the first university, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Sabah Campus, and also the setting up of ITM (Institut Teknologi Mara).

He was also the Deputy Head of PERKIM, when the late Tunku was the President and also the time of Datuk Patinggi Taib. He was also the head of United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA) and a member of RISEAP.

In 1975, USNO secretary-general Harris Salleh left the party to form BERJAYA. This party was backed up by the federal government thru the oil lobby.[4][6] In the 1976 state election, BERJAYA won and Mustapha was ousted from power.

Formation of Sabah chapter of UMNO[edit]

Mustapha remained active in politics, leading USNO and contesting in four subsequent state elections (1981, 1985, 1986, and 1990). Although they never won again, they still managed to win several seats in the state assembly. They also remained a partner of BN at the federal government level (as opposed to the state level).[7] After the 1990 state election, he teamed up with Harris Salleh again, after BERJAYA themselves were ousted by Parti Bersatu Sabah. This resulted in a merger of USNO and BERJAYA to create the Sabah chapter of the peninsular-based United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Mustapha became its first chief of UMNO Sabah.

Controversies[edit]

Arrests of catholic priests[edit]

Tun Mustapha is remembered by the Catholics of Sabah for imposing to the letter the immigration laws by denying foreign priests who have not obtained permanent residency on the extension of their visas. All the priests who object to their expulsion for doing religious works among the Catholics were arrested by using his powers as the Chairman of the State Security Operation Committee and CM of Sabah State Government.

Mustapha did this because he alleged the priests of involvement in politics. From their pulpits in the churches during the sermons they used to tell the laity not to vote for Mustapha's party in the coming elections but to vote for other parties like BERJAYA and PBS. Mustapha had his police informers sitting in the pews during the church services monitoring events to back up his allegations. And any decent honest churchgoer who was in the pews, Catholics or non-Catholics alike can vouch that the priests indeed did this. So the church was not blameless in stirring up the resulting controversy. Furthermore the Bishop of Sabah at the time, Peter Chung did nothing to draw his priests into line, further souring his relations with Tun Mustapha.

Under his orders, on 2 December 1972, the police decided to make a raid at the missions at Tambunan, Papar, Bundu Tuhan and Kuala Penyu. The raids at Tambunan and Papar were successful, timed early in the morning with the church bell ropes cut to prevent it from being used to warned the people. The priests were at Kapayan long before the parishioners were aware of it.

The raid at Kuala Penyu was initially a fiasco with a reception committee of 600 Catholics. To avoid clashes, by 11 am reinforcements were flown in to arrest one priest.

On 15 December more priests were arrested at Keningau, Tenom and Limbahau.[8]

The rest of the priests who only had temporary residence permits, on hearing this has no choice but to say goodbye to their parishioners and went home or were given new assignments to nearby countries.

As reported in local news such as Daily Express (p. 2, 11 November 2009), the Malaysian home ministry informed in parliament that a biography of Tun Mustapha's political opponent who died in the Double Six Crash plane crash, Datuk Peter Mojuntin, is banned. The reason was that the book "allegedly" recorded that Datuk Peter exposed Tun Mustapha's attempt to stop Catholism in Sabah by deporting and arresting foreign missionary priests who were serving their local parishes in the state.[citation needed]

Datuk Peter's house was also surrounded by the police after all the priests were arrested because only he dared to voice his opposition to the prosecution of the priests. He was not arrested because of his strong political support from the Kadazan people of Penampang.[9]

Death and legacy[edit]

Tun Mustapha tomb in Putatan.

He died on 2 January 1995 at Sabah Medical Center, Teluk Likas, Kota Kinabalu, at the age of 76. He was buried at the Muslim cemetery in Kampung Ulu/Ulu Seberang Putatan which was formerly used as a fortress by the late Paduka Mat Salleh and the State Government has named the cemetery "Taman Memorial Tun Datu Haji Mustapha". His memorial is not in Tambunan. The Tun Datu Mustapha Memorial in Tambunan is meant for the distant uncle, Paduka Mat Salleh.

During the 8th Convocation Ceremony of UMS (Universiti Malaysia Sabah) held on the 2–3 September 2006, he was conferred the Honorary Degree-Doctor of Philosophy (Social Development)[citation needed]

In December 2007, his 21 year old grandson, Datu Azlan Amir Kahar died of a heart attack. However, prior to his death he had a fight with his fiance Rosinah Chai, in which he sustained multiple injuries to his body. There was some speculations that Chai was responsible for Azlan's death, but post mortem results indicated that injuries inflicted upon Azlan did not cause his death.[10]

The state government recently renamed the Sabah Foundation Building to Tun Mustapha Tower, as a token of appreciation for his contributions to the state.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Celebrating Malaysia Day". The Star. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Tun Mustapha dan Pembangunan Sabah (development of Sabah)", Yayasan Sabah (2003).
  3. ^ Reid, Anthony (1997). "Endangered identity: Kadazan or Dusun in Sabah" 28. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 
  4. ^ a b The Borneo Post Online
  5. ^ Åsgård, Björn."A Study of the Kadazan Dusun, Sabah, Malaysia", Ethnic Awareness and Development, p. 28. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  6. ^ Rafaelle, Paul (1986). Harris Salleh of Sabah. Hong Kong: Condor Publishing. ISBN 962-7212-01-6. 
  7. ^ malaysiana1: About Datuk Seri Harris Salleh & Datuk Seri Musa Aman
  8. ^ the book Khabar Gembira or "good news" - A history of the catholic church in East Malaysia and Brunei 1880 to 1976 by Fr John Rooney MHM Phd - 1981 Burns and Oates Ltd Wellwood North Farm rd, Turnbridge Wells Kent
  9. ^ the Banned biography by Bernard Sta Maria - Golden son of the Kadazan- refer the banning source to the Home ministry of Malaysia for reference.
  10. ^ New Straits Times. Friday 7 December 2007, Prime News, Pg 12, I miss him dearly, says model
New creation Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah
1963–1965
Succeeded by
Pengiran Ahmad Raffae Pengiran Othman
Preceded by
Peter Lo Sui Yin
Chief Minister of Sabah
1967–1975
Succeeded by
Tun Said Keruak