Assembly’s first session
Published on: Saturday, July 09, 2022
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1963: Sabah’s Legislative body met for the first time after the Malaysia formation at the new Council Chamber in the Secretariat. 

First Head of State Tun Data Mustapha inspected a guard of honour mounted by police at the opening. The Assembly’s first task was to amend its Standing Orders so as to bring them in line with other Legislatures in the Commonwealth. 

In the chair was Sir George Ohelers, also the Speaker of the Singapore Legislative Assembly. 

Chief Minister Donald Stephens assured the Council that action had been taken to buy land on an imposing site near Gaya College, off Harrington Road, for Sabah’s new Legislative Council Chambers. 

He also told the Speaker that the inexperience of the Sabah Legislative Council members in parliamentary practice and procedure was no secret and could not wish for a better mentor to guide it in the early days of its independence in Malaysia. 

In his opening speech, TYT Mustapha said it was a historic day for Sabah. 

He said the decision to join Malaysia was made freely and openly and any doubts must have been dispelled by the clear verdict of the United Nations survey. 

He also paid tribute to Sir William Goode who, in his capacity as the last colonial Governor, did much to smoothen the path to independence. Mustapha noted that Sabah’s external trade was worth $250m for the first half of ‘63. making its financial position sound. He said the financial arrangements agreed, to in the inter-Governmental Committee meant that both State and Federal governments should share in the fiscal fruits of increasing prosperity and ensure a five-year development sum of $200million, plus a generous grant from the British Government of two million pounds sterling a year for five years and $150million promised by the Singapore government. 

He also noted that the concept of local government was growing in a healthy manner in the State with town boards and district councils gaining confidence and experience in running their affairs. 

He said a District Council will be set up in Pensiangan in 1964. District Councils will also be set up in the two remaining areas without them - Kinabatangan and Labuk - as soon as it becomes practical. 

In medical services he said proposals have been made for equipment in the main hospitals of Jesselton, Sandakan and Tawau with specialist facilities, building of more cottage hospitals and a comprehensive health service dealing with anti-malarial, anti-tuberculosis work and maternal health care. 

In defence, he said it was the responsibility of the Federal Government and it has been agreed to expand the police force and integrate it into the Malaysian system of security. 

A recruiting drive starts the same month for the 2nd Battalion Malaysia rangers, which will be the Sabah Unit in the Malaysian Defence Forces. 

In civil service, Mustapha said it will uphold a strong and independent Public Service Commission and will ensure the implementation of the policy of Borneonisation laid down in Council Paper No. 5 of 1963. 

In education, he said the new Gaya Teacher Training College should provide most of the needed teachers. 

Manila newsmen say Filipinos accept Malaysia 

1963: Three visiting Filipino newspaper representatives said not many people in the Philippines are against the formation of Malaysia and were confident that their government would soon realise this.

The three were Dani Aguila from the Examiner, Luis Beltram from the Evening News and Alberto Alfaro from the Manila Chronicle. While in Sabah as guests of the Malaysian Government, they also attended the first Legislative Council session of independent Sabah. 

Sabah’s first hockey game 

1909: The first hockey match was played. It was between Jesselton and HMS Merlin. The popularity of the game was, however, restricted to the playing fields of the Armed Constabulary and it was not until 1936 that the game’s popularity grew. 


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