Dr Richard Barrow (OB 1952-1960)

We have today received the sad news from OB Alan Fletcher that OB Dr Richard Barrow died in early December 2023.

Richard was clearly a more distinguished man in Sabah. Our condolences to his family and friends.



Renowned Sabah activist Datuk Dr Richard Brendan Barrow passed away at the age of 82, yesterday, leaving many to say that Sabah has lost a gem as they recall his contributions to the state.

The news of his passing was shared on North Borneo Historical Journal’s Facebook group, with many volunteering their experiences of having been treated by Barrow at his clinic in Kota Kinabalu, as well as those enlightened by his works as an activist in Sabah.

Originally from Ilford, Essex, which is now part of London, England, Barrow eventually moved to Sabah in 1967 following his marriage to Datin Phoebe Barrow two years earlier.

He is survived by his widow, Phoebe and three children, sons Matthew and Rene Barrow as well as daughter, Latana Barrow.

Having completed his medical degree at the Charing Cross Hospital, Barrow went on to assume his medical practice and was also known as an activist who was passionate in fighting for Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), along with other historical documents.

He was also one of the founding members of a non-government organisation, the Registered Trustees of Sabah Action Body Advocating Rights (Sabar).

In the comments section, Sabah veteran journalist Datuk Joe Leong expressed his condolences and shared that Barrow was a respectable professional and resident of Kota Kinabalu.

“(Barrow) made solid contributions to the progress and development of Sabah through his consistent, faithful, and dedicated social and professional services. A great loss indeed,” he said.

MA63 activist Remy Majangkim also told Scoop that Barrow had fought for Sabah’s development behind the scenes.

“Datuk Dr Richard Brendan Barrow, some say the man was a myth and a legend, we all know him as the good doctor from England.

“He was recently conferred Datukship by the Sabah government, and I feel that it was long overdue for this man.

“Those who were lucky to have a conversation with him would see the sparkles in his eyes and the mannerism of a gentleman; rare attributes nowadays,” he said.

Sabar’s chairman Datuk Dr Johan Ariffin Samad said that Barrow will always be remembered for his service to Sabah.

“He came at an early age to serve in Sabah as a medical officer in various districts. Dr Barrow had taken an interest in serving the communities of Sabah until his death,” Johan told Scoop.

Meanwhile, former Petagas assemblyman Datuk James Ligunjang also shared that Barrow was a remarkable individual, saying that the late doctor not only embodied the spirit of Sabah but also dedicated his life ensuring the unity and security of Sabah’s rights in Malaysia.

“I remember Datuk Dr Richard as a true friend and champion for our rights. He firmly believed in the power of unity and fought tirelessly to secure the rights and privileges that rightfully belonged to the people of Sabah. His dedication and unwavering commitment to this cause were truly admirable, and his efforts will not be forgotten.

“As we bid farewell to a dear friend, let us remember the impact he had on our lives and the legacy he leaves behind. Datuk Dr. Richard Barrow was a man of integrity, passion, and unwavering dedication. His love for Sabah and its people was genuine, as was his desire to see us united.

“Datuk Dr Richard Barrow has left an indelible mark on the hearts of those he touched, and his memory will continue to inspire us as we move forward. Let us honour his legacy by carrying on his mission of unity and by protecting and securing our rights in Malaysia,” he added. – December 5, 2023

Sabah activist Datuk Dr Richard Brendan Barrow dies at 82


Alumni Office 10th May 2024