First Chief Minister
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan (1920-1997)
Born Aug 20, 1920 in Betong, Sarawak.
Mixed Iban and Chinese parentage
Like Tan Sri Adenan Satem, he loved singing and movies. Japanese song ‘Kuni No Hana’ (Flower of the Nation) and Terang Bulan were among his favourites. He was also a P Ramlee fan. He was founder and president of the Sarawak Dayak Association from 1958 to 1960 and helped found the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in 1961, In the 1962 general SNAP won many seats. Ningkan was appointed Sarawak’s first chief minister on July 21, 1963 by then governor Sir Alexander Waddell. The 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis saw Ningkan being ousted from office but he was reinstated by the Borneo High Court on Sept 7, 1966. The Government amended the Sarawak Constitution to give the Sarawak governor the right to commence the Council Negri meeting. A vote of no confidence was passed on Sept 23, 1966 resulting in the removal of Ningkan from the chief minister office for the second time. Ningkan died peacefully aged 76 on March 31, 1997 in Kuching.
Second Chief Minister
Dato’ Penghulu Tawi Sli
(June 12, 1912 – 1987)
Born in Banting,Sarawak and received formal education at St Thomas school in Kuching until Form 3. He hailed from an Anglican family and was a teacher at a mission school. He was the secretary of SNAP of the Simanggang branch but later resigned amd joined Parti Pesaka Sarawak in 1966. He was appointed chief minister of Sarawak by then Governor, Abang Haji Openg during the 1966 Sarawak Constitutional Crisis but when Ningkan was reinstated, he lost the job. Tawi Sli was sworn in as chief minister for the second time on Sept 23, 1966 following the ouster of Ningkan. He retired in 1974.
Third Chief Minister
Tun Datuk Patinggi Abdul Rahman Yakub
(Jan 3, 1928 -Jan 9 2015)
The first Chief Minister of Melanau descent. The leader from Mukah was also the fourth Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) of Sarawak. Born in Kampung Jepak, Bintulu, Sarawak to fisherman Tuan Wan Yakub bin Wan Yusuf and Siti Hajar bt Haji Mohd Tahir, a housewife. Rahman Yakub first attended a Malay school then Sekolah Anchi in Miri. He later transferred to St Joseph Miri. The first Prime Minister of Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman bought Rahman Yakub into politics while the second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak mentored him. Rahman Yakub was education minister before returning to Sarawak to become chief minister in 1970. He made a bold move by changing the medium of instruction for all schools and higher learning institutions from English to Malay language. e was also credited with the creation of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1970. He stepped down on March 26, 1981 as chief minister after undergoing heart surgery in London. He became Governor of Sarawak from April 2, 1981 until April 2, 1985 before quitting due to health reasons.
Fourth Chief Minister
Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud
Born May 21, 1936in Miri, Sarawak
Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, also of Melanau descent, succeeded his uncle Rahman Yaakob as chief minister in 1981. Born in impoverished circumstances in 1936, Taib was raised by his uncle, who was also his political mentor for 20 years. Taib was the president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) before which is part of the Barisan Nasional coalition. He was the longest serving chief minister in Malaysia, having held the position in Sarawak for 33 years until 2014. Being a member of the Malaysian Parliament for 38 years, Taib is also the second longest-serving parliamentarian in Malaysia after Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. On Feb 12 2014, Taib handed over his resignation letter to the Governor of Sarawak to vacate his chief minister post, officially ending his 33 years of chief ministership. His former brother-in-law, Adenan Satem, succeeded him as Chief Minister with effect from March 1 2014. At the same time, Taib received the official credentials as the 7th Sarawak Head of State from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara on February 28, and officially took the oath of office on the following day. He became the second Sarawakian (after his uncle) to be appointed as the Governor.