Stephens says quit politics
Published on: Thursday, November 04, 1965

DAILY EXPRESS (Thursday, November 4, 1965) JESSELTON, Nov. 3 — “My home is in Sabah, and I will die in Sabah, make no mistake about this”, these were the ringing words spoken to newsmen by Dato Donald Stephens before he boarded a Cathay Pacific Airways aircraft for Hong Kong, this afternoon.

The outgoing Upko President who 24 hours ago announced his dramatic decision to retire completely from politics said he was distressed to leave that people were still making wild talks saying that he has planned to go to Australia and that was why he had retired from politics. 

“Don’t make any mistake. My place is in Sabah. I will always belong to Sabah and there is no place for me to go to except Sabah”, he said amidst feelings of emotion and punctuated by banging his fist on the airport restaurant bar table. 

Dato Stephens who had held leadership of his Upko party since its inception and taken a leading role in the politics of this country, said he hoped to be away for three weeks to one month and return to Sabah “to do my own business”. 

Jokingly he told newsmen, “I will become the President of the Press club and join you all in fighting the Government.” 

A large gathering of party followers, Alliance leaders and Cabinet members saw Dato Stephens off. 

Unlike other political party leaders Dato Stephens did not make use of the VIP room but stayed on the Airport lounge. 

Among those who were at the airport to see the erstwhile Upko leader were the Chief Minister Enche Peter Lo, and all cabinet Ministers, Tun Datu Mustapha bin Datu Harun, President of Usno, Datin Stephens, wife of Dato Stephens, and several others. 

The airport was unusually busy this afternoon to see Dato Stephens off, not because he was going on holiday, but the dramatic aftermath of circumstances in which he had been forced to bow out of the politics of Sabah, in particular and Malaysia in general.

Asked whether at any future period he would care to return to politics, Dato Stephens gave a beaming wide smile and quipped “not likely let us put it that way”. 

There was no trace of remorse or regret or even disappointment manifested on the usually expressionful face of Dato Stephens. 

He talked freely and gleefully with all who wished him a happy and comfortable holiday. 

Accompanying him is Johnhy Sung a local Chinese journalist-cum-political Secretary cum press secretary to the Dato. 

* Stephens fell out of favour with Kuala Lumpur after he called for a review of the Malaysia Agreement following Singapore’s exit.

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