Kota Kinabalu Mac 08, 2012: A local businessman has filed a suit against former Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Mohd Salleh over the "surrender" of Labuan to the Federal Government 28 years ago, which resulted in the island becoming a Federal Territory.
Albanus, part of whose business is undertaking research on social and political issues in Sabah and Malaysia, is seeking a declaration that Harris, who was the sixth Chief Minister from 1976 to 1985, on his part had acted unlawfully in the surrender of Labuan in 1984, damages, injunctive relief, costs and interest.
In his statement of claim, Albanus claimed that during Harris' (the defendant) tenure as the Chief Minister of Sabah, the territory of Sabah was drastically reduced by the surrender of Labuan to the Federal Government.
In 1984, as a resulted of an action taken by the defendant, Labuan became a Federal Territory on April 16, 1984, the second after Kuala Lumpur.
Albanus claimed that the creation of the Labuan Federal Territory was undertaken by the defendant in an extremely hasty and hurried manner without seeking any public opinion or consultation, especially from the citizenry of the State of Sabah and/or the citizenry of Labuan island.
Albanus also claimed that in researching the creation of Labuan as a Federal Territory in 1984, he had discovered from one Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, at that juncture the acting State Secretary of Sabah, that the defendant had not sought the opinions, feeling and concerns of Sabah citizens including himself (plaintiff), that the defendant had not undertaken a referendum in respect of the Labuan decision either among the populace and citizenry of both Sabah and Labuan;
Also that the defendant had acted unilaterally and individually without compliance with the relevant constitutional safeguards and also the well being of Sabah citizenry.
As a result of the defendant's rash and unconstitutional action, the Sabah State Government and the citizenry of Sabah suffered unquantifiable financial and social loss at the material time and for generations to come, he claimed.
Albanus said he would among others rely on the information obtained as a result of his research and interviews with Sipaun through e-mail, recently.
Meanwhile, Albanus told the media after filing the suit that he believed one of the main reasons why Sabah is not financially well off as a State was because of the surrender of Labuan, which was undertaken by the defendant.
"In undertaking the transfer of this territory, he did not make a proper study and obtain the views of the people of Sabah including myself.
I have come across of information provided by a very important person which has confirmed what I had suspected but unable to prove all along i.e. the transfer was done rashly and there are many unanswered questions.
"It is for this reason and for the people of Sabah that I am taking up this suit against Tan Sri Harris Mohd Salleh," said Albanus.