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Sunday December 19, 2010

Taib marries Middle-Easterner

The bride

KUCHING: Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, 74, has found a new love. He married a woman in her early 30s from the Middle East.

The wedding ceremony took place last night.

The akad nikah was a private affair that started at about 8pm at the chief minister’s residence, Demak Jaya, in Petra Jaya here.

It was solemnised by Sarawak Mufti Kipli Yassin and attended by family members, relatives and close friends of the couple. Several members of the state Cabinet were also present.

The town has been abuzz over the wedding of Malaysia’s longest-serving chief minister.

However, Taib and his state Cabinet colleagues remained tight-lipped about the union.

The public is awaiting an official announcement from family members although the media had gone to town with the story of his marriage.

“No one knew what was happening. Even the most senior officials in Taib’s department were not aware that he was planning to tie the knot.

“Obviously, this is a private matter for the Chief Minister and he wants to keep it that way,” said a source.

There are claims that the newlyweds are planning a grand wedding reception next month.

Apparently, on Friday, Taib visited the grave of his late Polish-born Australian wife Puan Sri Laila, who died of cancer in April last year. The couple were married for 50 years after they met while studying in Australia. They have four children and 15 grandchildren.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan gave credence to the marriage talk earlier yesterday when he told reporters in Miri: “There is a great possibility that the rumour is true.”

Dr Chan is also an in-law to Taib. Tan Sri Sulaiman, Taib’s son, is married to Dr Chan’s daughter Anisa.

Green, Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said: “It is time for him to remarry. It is not good to be alone, especially a busy person like him. If this rumour is true I am very happy for him.

“It is good to have a woman’s support,’’ he added.

When contacted, the Chief Mi­­nis­ter’s media department spokes­­­man said: “Let the Chief Minister make an official announcement.”

Taib has been the Chief Minister of Sarawak since 1981. He assumed the post at the age of 45.

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