KUALA LUMPUR: Sibu MP and Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew,(pic) 67, died Friday after battling liver cancer.
Lau's death will see the 11th by-election in the country since the last general election in March, 2008. His private secretary, Peter Hu, told Bernama that Lau died at his home here at 11.10am and arrangements were being made to take his body back to his home town in Sibu.
He left behind his wife, Datin Janet Lau Ung Hie, and three children.
Lau, who came from a prominent business family in Sibu, was elected MP for Sibu in 1990 and retained the seat for five terms under the Barisan Nasional. He was allocated the seat under the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).
The SUPP vice-president was appointed deputy housing and local government minister in March 2004, a portfolio which he retained after the general election in 2008.
However, after Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took office as prime minister in April last year, he was made the deputy transport minister in a minor cabinet reshuffle.
Lau was once given the nickname, "toilet king", for his tireless effort to create a culture of cleanliness in public toilets in the country during his stint at the local government and housing minister.
Lau's elder brother, Datuk Lau Hui Siong, a prominent businessman and founder of conglomerate KTS Group, which is involved in the timber and media industries including the Borneo Post, Utusan Borneo and Oriental Daily, died in Ocobert 2004, also due to cancer.
In the last general election, Lau retained the mostly-urban Bandar Sibu parliamentary seat with a 3,235-vote majority in a three-cornered fight with Lim Chin Chuang (PKR) and Sarawak DAP Chairman Wong Ho Leng. - Bernama