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Ex-minister to fast to save his people

Former Sabah minister Conrad Mojuntin has chosen
a drastic life-threatening path to compel the
government to address immediately the state's
perennial social and economic problems.
By Luke Rintod of FMT
PENAMPANG: Disillusioned former Sabah minister, Conrad Mojuntin has decided to fast until death ‘if it is the will of God’ in his bid to force the government to re-examine its duty to the people of Sabah.

He started his fast today.

“I will start fasting today (Friday, June 17), five days after Pentecost Sunday, in my family’s prayer room.

“I will completely abstain from taking food. I will drink only water, until I die if it is the will of God,” he said calmly, adding he will spend most his time praying for solutions.

Mojuntin, 64, is the younger brother of the revered Kadazandusun leader Peter Joinod Mojuntin who died in the controversial 1976 plane crash that took the lives of Chief Minister Fuad Stephens and half of the state cabinet.

The father of six said he had lost all confidence in the authorities to alleviate the problems plaguing the state.

Spewing his frustrations in a six-page handwritten statement, Mojuntin expressed his angst over the marginalisation of his native Sabahans and the fact that his children were unable to get scholarships, study loans or get into the public service while scores of illegal immigrants’ offsprings were granted government assistance.

“It’s ironical. I stood as guarantor for many Sabahans to get study loans but now I am blacklisted by Sabah Foundation.

“Not one of my sons and daughters could get a Sabah Foundation loan to continue their studies”.

Mojuntin, who was the former Culture, Youth and Sports Minister during the Berjaya regime which ruled from 1976 to 1985, is hoping that his sacrifice would inspire the government to address problems in the state.

Trust in God

Mojuntin said his family and community as well as other Sabahans felt like they were being persecuted for not adapting to Malayan politics and especially its Islamic ideals.

A devout Catholic, Mojuntin, 64, recounted the many torments he experienced, both before and after he left public service, including an effort by some in the 1980s to convert him and his family to Islam.

At times appearing frustrated, Mojuntin, whose pension has been stopped since March last year, poured his heart out over his predicament and his inability to do anything about it.

“I met a Roman Catholic priest yesterday to confess my sins, and to inform of my intention (to fast) for various reasons,” he said adding that he was also fasting to seek solutions for some personal issues stemming from his strong conviction to safeguard his family and his faith.

Outlining a long list of issues he wants solved amicably, he said he trusted in God to give him and the people of Sabah justice.

“May God’s will be done to reveal the whole truth regarding the “Double Six” plane crash, so that all lingering doubt on that fatal crash be finally cast out,” he said referring to the 1976 crash, the course of which remains a mystery to this day.

‘Subtle persecution’

Mojuntin said he and his family had been persecuted endlessly since he married his wife Theresa William Ali but said he bore no grudges against those who he said had “conspired to wrongfully put (him) in jail”.

Mojuntin was sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined RM2,000 for criminally intimidating local businessman Doughty Disimon, outside a cafe here on Oct 23, 2005.

He was released just over a year ago.

“Sabahans have quietly suffered too long…Stop the subtle persecution. Stop the biasness in the appointment of civil servants of various federal departments.

“The government must fulfill the aspiration of Sabahan and Sarawakians….” he said in reference to the terms of the 1963 agreement leading to the formation of the Federation of Malaysian encompassing Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah.

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