Evans, Keningau’s Most Distinguished Politician To Be Buried Saturday

Musa Aman paying his last respects to Robert Evans at his residence in Taman Kali, Keningau on Thursday. He was accompanied by Yusof Osman, the Keningau District Officer. Also seen in the picture are Jane Tay, Evans widow and family members. – Photo credit CMD

KENINGAU: Stephen Robert Evans, a politician, public administrator and author from Keningau, passed away peacefully on Wednesday. He was 82 years old.

A family member said Evans passed away peacefully at the family home at 12.30pm.

The funeral service will be held at St Francis Xavier’s church on Saturday, September 30, 2017, at 11.00am, after which the cortege will proceed to Kampung Bandukan Lama, Bingkor for burial.

He leaves behind his wife, Jane Tay Hui New, and four daughters, Vivian, Maureen, Regina and Linda, as well as seven grandchildren.

On Thursday, Musa Aman, Sabah’s chief minister called on the family residence here to pay his last respects.


Evans, as he was popularly known as, had a distinguished career as a politician; he first served as a Member of Parliament for Keningau from August 8, 1974 to June 1, 1977, during the USNO era.

He stepped down to enable a by-election be held, when Berjaya took over the reins of the government, for Harris Salleh to contest, but he was appointed a Senator from December 15, 1977 to June 20, 1978.

In the 1978 Parliament elections he was re-contested and won on a Berjaya candidate while Harris switched to Ulu Padas (now Tenom) from July 15, 1978 until March 29, 1982.

In 1986, he contested and won the Bingkor State seat on a PBS ticket and was a member of the State Legislative Assembly, serving from May 5, 1986 until June 26, 1990.

He did not seek re-election in 1990.

Evans was born in Kampong Bariawa Laut, a small village in the Keningau district, where his father, Richard F. Evans, was first the District Officer and later Resident of the West Coast for the then North Borneo Chartered Company Government.

He studied in a Japanese primary school in Keningau during the occupation, but after World War II, he was schooled at Catholic mission schools at Sandakan, Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and at Kuching, Sarawak.

He attended universities in Britain, United States and Australia, gaining B.Sc. and MA degrees in Public Administration and Diplomas in Journalism and Agriculture.

In 1966, he was awarded a Columbo Plan Scholarship from the New Zealand Government to study Public Administration and Local Government.

Evans was awarded a PGDK, Commander of the Order of Kinabalu (second class Datukship: Datuk) by the State Government in 1977 and in 1989 he was conferred the State’s highest award, SPDK, Grand Commander of the Order of Kinabalu (first class Datukship: Datuk Seri Panglima).

He also served as a Justice of the Peace, and was a life member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Malaysian Parliamentary Association.

He authored several books, among them – English for students preparing for the Malaysia Certificate of Education the Cambridge School Certificate and General Certificate of Education Examinations and Sabah (North Borneo) Under the Rising Sun Government.

Twice he won the Borneo Literature Bureau’s Literature Competition. He also served as Chairman of Sabah Land Development Board during the PBS era.