Here are the results of Sabah's first direct general election for the 32 elected State Legislative Assembly seats in April 1967. I did not give the exact dates because unlike nowadays when the results for all seats would be known by the same evening (although the number of seats had almost doubled to 60), those days it took almost 3 weeks before all the results were known. The first counting was done on polling day itself - 8 April - (for the urban seats like Kota Kinabalu, then Jesselton) and the last on 27 April (for the most rural or remote seats), just imagine. It also goes to show how undeveloped Sabah's communication system was then. By the way, talking about communication, sorry for the delay as I promised to give you the results yesterday. Man proposes God disposes, remember?
(Constituency/Name of Candidate/Party/No. of Votes) (Winner in Bold)
01 - KUDAT
OT Tsen Kinsung (UPKO) - 1,697
Wong Loke Khiam (SCA) - 3,132
My commentary: Wong, later Datuk Wong, was appointed as Sabah's Health Minister after the election. The health portfolio was later abolished and taken over by the federal government. Notice the UPKO candidate's name had a prefix of OT. It stands for Orang Tua which literally means Old Man but it was actually how a Ketua Kampung (KK) or Village Headman was called in those days. Then, the law was more lax and you could add almost anything to your name and have it registered in your Identity Card!
02 - BENGKOKKA-BANGGI
Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun (USNO) - 4,690
Richard E. Yapp (UPKO) - 2,039
My Commentary: Tun Mustapha, as he was reverently referred to, was the USNO president and he became the Chief Minister after the election and served until Oct 1975. He was Sabah's first Governor (those days still known as Yang Di-Pertua Negara before it was changed to Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Sabah) from 31 August 1963. He later resigned as Governor to take an active part in politics and to be able to contest in an election. However, in the interim before the election he replaced Dato' Donald Stephens (later Tun Mohd Fuad) as the Federal Minister from Sabah, a post held by Stephens after his resignation as Sabah's first Chief Minister effective 1 January 1965. Mustapha was the longest-serving Bengkokka-Banggi Assemblyman, handing over to his son Datu Amir Kahar in 1981. Bengkokka-Banggi as later divided into two constituncies, with Banggi island as one and Bengkokka on Sabah's mainland (later renamed Pitas) as the other. Richard Yapp, until his defeat in the 1967 election, was a member of the State Cabinet, representing UPKO under the Alliance Government with USNO and SCA arranged by the British when they left in 1963. Those days the Alliance party also consisted of the Sabah Indian Congress or SIC and at one time they even had an Indian Nominated Assemblyman! However, SIC, until its dissolution, never contested in an election.
03 - LANGKON
Andrew Matakim (UPKO) - 3,861
Awang Ali Osman (USNO) - 2,214
My Commentary: Andrew, later made a Datuk, was among those UPKO Assemblymen who 'jumped' to USNO after the election. He was first made an Assistant Minister and later full Minister after retaining the Langkon seat in the 1971 election. In the meantime he had embraced Islam, changing his name to Idrus; following the footsteps of his (UPKO) party president Stephens. Note that although Langkon is a Kadazan or Christian-majority area, the USNO candidate managed a credible showing of more than 2,000 votes. There are of course a sizable number of Muslims in the area. It is not my intention to involve race or religion here, but my sole intention is to show that race and religion, until today, have been playing an influencial role in Sabah politics. For example, in the 1967 election, most if not all of the 14 seats won by USNO were Muslim-majority seats while the 12 seats won by UPKO were non-Muslim Native majority seats. History repeated itself in 1976 when Berjaya defeated USNO and in 1985 when PBS beat Berjaya! Will dwell more on this as we go along.
04 - TANDEK
Herman Luping (UPKO) - 2,207
Madina Unggut (USNO) - 690
My Commentary: Luping, now Datuk Dr Herman, along with the remaining UPKO Assemblymen joined USNO after their party's resolution late 1967. Just like Andrew, he was initially made an Assistant Minister. His fortunes were however better than that of Andrew as he ended up as a Deputy Chief Minister just before USNO's defeat by Berjaya in 1976. Herman, one of the first Sabahans to graduate from overseas with a university degree, served as the General Manager of (the old) Sabah Times once. Although Madina of USNO polled only 690 votes, he eventually became a YB (the Honourable) while his brother Baudi Unggut also became a Member of Parliament under the USNO government.
05 - USUKAN
Mohamed Said Keruak (USNO) - Uncontested
My Commentary: Mohamed Said (left picture, top) or Said Keruak as he was fondly referred to, a former Native Chief from Kota Belud where Usukan is located, was a member of the State Cabinet even before the election. He (now Dato' Said) must have been Sabah's longest serving Agriculture & Fisheries Minister, as the post was then called. After the 1971 election, he was promoted to Deputy Chief Minister while holding on to his portfolio. He (now Tan Sri Said) was further promoted to Chief Minister in Oct 1975 when Tun Mustapha had to step down due to pressure following the birth of the Kuala Lumpur-backed Berjaya party. However, he was also the shortest-serving Chief Minister as USNO was defeated by Berjaya in April 1976. Said took over as USNO president from Tun Mustapha after the defeat and led the party into the 1981 state election. Said had always been seen as Mustapha's No. 2 and trusted lieutenant in both the government and party. It was however the most disastrous outing USNO had ever witnessed. If in 1976 USNO got at least 20 seats (against Berjaya's 28), in 1981 it got only 3 - almost wiped out! Mohd Said retired from active politics after that, passing the baton as Usukan Assemblyman and later Kota Belud MP to his son, Salleh. However, in 1987 there was a change of fortune for Said - he was invited by the new PBS government to be Sabah's Governor (by now renamed Yang Di-Pertua Negeri). He (now Tun Said) served as Governor for 2 terms or 8 years. It is noteworthy that one of his last acts as Yang Di-Pertua Negeri just before he retired end of 1994 (by now another new state govenment - that of BN) was swearing-in his son Salleh as the new Chief Minister. Thus, history was created as Said-Salleh became the only father and son team who had both been Sabah Chief Ministers! In fact, swearing-in in front of his own father was already a history in itself! Will the Keruak family create another history in our lifetime should Salleh, who served as CM until May 1996, one day become a Governor himself? We never know. It's not impossile. Salleh is still young, even younger than me and as a Muslim he is qualified to be the Governor. Let God's will be done. Note: Said died when Salleh was CM.
To be continued (tea break).