KOTA KINABALU: Former Kunak assemblyman Datuk Nilwan Kabang (pic) was laid to rest at about noon after passing away earlier yesterday.
Initially, the Sabah Umno assistant information chief was reported to have succumbed to Covid-19.
However, his eldest daughter Nurina said Nilwan, who was 77, had actually recovered from the virus but was continuing treatment for a lung infection when he passed away.
“He was doing quite well but his condition worsened some time after midnight,” she said when met at the Muslim Cemetery in Kg Ulu, Putatan, near here after the burial.
She said the last time she spoke to her father was on Saturday via a video call.
His family was informed of his death just before 4am yesterday.
“He was always strict, wanting us to put our religion first.
“He cared a lot about us, and never once hit or was rough with us when we were growing up,” said Nurina.
She said her father continued to help his former constituents even when he was no longer their assemblyman.
Friends who knew Nilwan described him as a friendly and humble person, who respected and treated everyone with dignity.
During his political career, Nilwan held several state posts, including as the rural development assistant minister.
He was the Kunak assemblyman for two terms from 2008 to 2018, before losing the seat to Parti Warisan Sabah’s Norazlinah Arif.
He was also a veteran political leader who started his career during the era of the United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) before joining Umno when the party expanded its wings to Sabah in 1990.
Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, in conveying his condolences to the grieving family, said he remembered Nilwan as a strong-willed person who did not back down from challenges easily.
He said Nilwan, a personal good friend of his, was also always calm when faced with any problem.
He added that the shocking and sad passing of Nilwan was a huge loss to the people of Sabah, and to Umno.