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Friday, 21 February 2014 | MYT 7:15 PM

Taib Mahmud: I am happy to have served, happy to retire

Taib waves goodbye to the media after the press conference

Taib waves goodbye to the media after the press conference

KUCHING: Often described as a serious leader, outgoing Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Friday showed a lighter side when he openly shared various sentiments and his hopes for Sarawak to the media.

Taib has scheduled his retirement at the end of this month.

Among the things that drew the media's attention at the press conference which Taib deemed as "probably his last interaction with the press", was retiring with happy feelings.

"I am retiring by the end of this month with a happy feeling and confident that the country will be in safe hands and that I will be able to witness continued development.

"I will not be very active after March 1 in terms of active service because I know it's time for the other generation to take over.

"I am very confident that the team that I left behind will be able to train the younger people," he said.

On Feb 12, Taib announced that he will be stepping down as chief minister effective Feb 28 and would be succeeded by Special Functions Minister in the Chief Minister's Office and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council member Tan Sri Adenan Satem, the assemblyman for Tanjung Datu.

The swearing-in ceremony for the new Sarawak chief minister is scheduled for Feb 28.

Earlier, Taib who is Sarawak's fourth chief minister and assumed office on March 26, 1981,  expressed his gratitude to have the opportunity to serve the state.

"I did not expect it to be that long but I am happy to say that I have been able to see our state develop and become a cohesive society with very serious efforts to better our future.

"Our politics is quite moderate and I do believe it shaped the character of the people of Sarawak," he said.

He is also proud of the unity and understanding shown by Sarawak's multi-ethnic and religious communities which he viewed to be the enabling factor for all the problems to be resolved collectively as well as to spur the progress of the state.

Touching on the Sarawak community's potential and human capital, Taib believed the setting up of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) would bring change, particularly in terms of population demographics.

"I believe SCORE will draw more people into the middle part of Sarawak and infact I do believe the interior of Sarawak as result of SCORE will open up for better development," he said.

He said the overflow of projects is expected to boost the tourism industry with the opening up of more towns, in which, at the same time, would make Sarawakians more mobile and with better levels of income.

On the state's political scene, Taib said he had an 'eye' on a couple of promising talent among the younger generation of leaders who "are currently in the circle".

"There is already one or two talents I had spotted among the younger generation and I am sure there will be more.

"As you can see the quality of our YB's (elected representatives) has been improving over the years from one election to another.

"I believe that when the Chinese-based BN party (SUPP) has sorted out their politics, probably in the next two to three years, we will have a good younger generation who can run the state very well," he said.

Taib concluded that the Sarawak people were very conscious of the fact that they would like to remain united and to have stable politics as it was a pre-condition towards achieving a better future. - Bernama


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