KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor paid tribute to  pioneering Kadazan singer, Datuk Justin Stimol whose passing has left a void in the local  music industry. 

“His contribution was so immense that not only he introduced Sabah to the world but also  promoted local songs, particularly in the Kadazan language. In 1983, the United Nations  invited Datuk Justin to perform in New York in conjunction with the Culture and Traditional  International Conference. 

“In 2016, Datuk Justin was invited to Budapest, Hungary to attend the 50th Anniversary  of the Revolution and Freedom Fight 1956 in recognition of the poem he wrote entitled  Kahagaasan or Freedom that was translated to Magyar, a native Hungarian language  which was published in the Red Book of Gloria Victis 1956,” he said in a recorded  message at the appreciation night for Stimol. 

Hajiji said Stimol was a legend of Kadazan songs having composed his first song at the  age of 16 entitled ‘Ada Hiivai Piniumpangazan’ sung by his sister Evelyn Ebin. 

Born on Nov 7, 1938, Stimol’s first hit song ‘Maggie’ was aired by RTM in 1962 followed  by other hits including Sonsomido and many more. 

The Chief Minister hoped the fundraising activities to build the Datuk Justin Stimol Gallery  will be successful as a recognition of his contribution. 

“He might be gone but his soul continues to live on with us through his songs,” he said.