KUCHING: The children of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud are delighted that they will finally have more time to spend with their father.
Describing their father as a workaholic for the past 50 years, son Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib and daughter Datuk Hanifah Taib-Alsree said it was about time their father took it easy and enjoy his retirement with his loved ones.
“He has worked for over 50 years. We had to sacrifice a lot of things so hopefully we get to spend more time with him.
“Otherwise it will be just like our graduation all over again where we will need to inform him six months prior,” Hanifah told the press when met at the swearing-in of Tan Sri Adenan Satem as Sarawak’s fifth Chief Minister here yesterday.
She said being the leader required sacrifice not only from Taib himself but his family, which they did for the 33 years when he was Chief Minister.
“We stood by him all this while because we knew he was doing it for a greater cause and now, you get to see all that he has done in the 33 years and how many lives he has improved.”
She said the results and progress experienced in Sarawak spoke for itself and that it was just unfortunate some quarters had the wrong impression about her father’s leadership.
Nonetheless, she said in past elections, majority continued to vote for Taib because they believed in him.
Bekir on the other hand remembered the days when his father would come home tired but still made it a point to sneak in some quality time with the family.
“He is a dedicated father and will make time for us even though he comes home tired, he will take us to go watch a movie. But it was difficult though.”
Bekir said Taib had once disclosed that he was upset he could not retire earlier when Puan Sri Laila Taib, his first wife and mother to all his four children, was still alive.
“He told me that he and my mother had plans to travel and enjoy retirement together. Because she had looked after him and us so he wanted to retire earlier to more or less reward her for all the years she had supported him.”
Earlier on, Bekir said Taib loved Sarawak and its people.
“Who won’t be proud to see their father work so hard and all the success he had achieved. Even if he was just a rubber tapper and he puts in the same effort to give his children the best, I would be proud still.”
Hanifah said surely her father would miss interacting with his friends and working with the people he had work with all through the years.
“He’s a workaholic. There was no guarantee we had him for the weekends before. Even when he was feeling under the weather, he will go and attend events. I mean, if it’s five people (you are meeting up with) you can change plans but if it involves 5,000 people, you can’t,” she said.
“So let him have some rest now. Let him be able to say ‘Hmm...can I get bored today?’”