Dr. James was born on March 13, 1939 in Tambunan, Sabah. Wife Datin Margaret Gonduong from Tamparuli Sabah(68) and has 6 children, Dr. David, Dr. Jimmy, Judith, Julia, Paul Martin and Mark Moses. His younger brother Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili is the Minister in the Prime Minister department.
A Short Story About The Singer ” Tadau Tagazo Doh Kaamatan ” By Datuk James P Ongkili
As a young boy he attended school in St. Francis Xavier, Keningau. Then studied at Jesselton La Salle High School, Kota Kinabalu. Next further his study for undergraduate and graduate (BA, MA Hons) University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He received his Ph.D. in the University after writing a thesis title of nationalism in Malaysia.
After he finish study, Dr James worked as a district officer in the Kinabatangan and Keningau in 1967 and 1968. Between January 1969 – April 1976 he became a lecturer at Universiti Malaya.
In April 1976, Dr. James competed and won big majority in Tamparuli under the tickets of Berjaya Party. Therefore, he was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in Sabah on 20 April 1976.
Dr James was appointed as Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Industry and Rural Development on July 17, 1976. Dr James awarded Indera Mahkota Pahang which carries the title Datuk by the Sultan of Pahang on 23 October 1976. Later he was appointed as the Vice President of Berjaya on March 18, 1977.
In the 1978 General Election, Dr James won Parliment seat competed in Tuaran. He won the seat in the state Tamparuli 1981 election with a majority of 2.559 votes. He continues as the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah until the Berjaya Party reshuffle after the elections in April 1981.
Dr James was appointed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Minister in the Prime Minister on June 2, 1983. After that he did not contest the state assembly in Tamparuli. He was appointed Minister of Justice in the cabinet until it was reshuffle on July 14, 1984.
He retired from politics in July 1986 and not nominated by the party’s Berjaya parliamentary seat for Tuaran. In May 1988 he resigned from the party’s Berjaya. In July 1988 he founded the Sabah People’s Party (PRS) and became the first president.
In July 1990 he lost the seat to contest the ticket Tamparuli under PRS. He was defeated by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing of Sabah United Party (PBS, led by its nephew Tan Sri Joseph Pairin). On August 1, 1990 he announced and retired from PRS and politics, but joined the Sabah United Party in March 1991 in Tamparuli.
He contributed to the writing of the National Fundamental principles that underlie the formation of a plural society in Malaysia and Vision 2020. He was a true nationalist and proud to be Malaysians. Dr James reviewed the history of the country, the construction of Malaysia and ethnic relations. He thinks a lot of politicians for the relationship established between ethnic tolerance.
His former press secretary, Almain Ajirul who is now a Director of Information Sabah consider Dr James as a dedicated person to his work.
He suffered pain and uses a wheelchair for 10 years because of the stroke / stroke 3.Bagi overcome the illness, he took six types of medicine. The first stroke was successfully overcome. The second attack he can still walk. But the third attack make him weak and have to use a wheelchair to move around.
He died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on March 20 at the age of 67 years. Funeral be conducted by the Church of St John, Tuaran on March 22 and was buried at the cemetery site in Bukit Aman, Jalan Kiulu, Kionsom Baru Tamparuli, Sabah.
Story By: Harry George
Sources: Dr Jimmy Ongkili, Wikipedia, Parti Berjaya
Picture: Tamparuli Candidate for Berjaya Party 1977