SIBU: Former Sarawak deputy chief minister Datuk Simon Dembab Maja passed away on Saturday (Jan 22) at a private medical centre in Kuching. He was 85.
Simon, who was a founding member of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is survived by wife Datin Rosalind Sitie Jemeni, three children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
His son Jimmy Maja was quoted as saying that his father held the post under the then-Sarawak Coalition Government in 1970.
“The government was then known as the Sarawak Coalition government, which was made up of Parti Bumiputera, Parti Pesaka and the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP). It was the first direct general elected government in the state," said Jimmy.
Jimmy said his father first contested in the first direct Sarawak state election in 1970 when he was a member of Parti Pesaka. However, Parti Pesaka later merged with Parti Bumiputera to form what is known as PBB today.
"He was one of the earliest founding members of the current PBB. In 1972, he was posted to Sydney, Australia as the student consular at the Malaysian Consulate there," he added.
Simon's family was from Engkilili but he received his education in Chung Hua school in Kuching in the 1950s and later St Thomas’ School in Kuching.
Jimmy said his father was also fluent in Mandarin as he had studied the language in a Chinese school before furthering his studies at a university in the 1950s.
The late Simon was also eloquent in Chinese dialects such as Hakka, Hokkien and Teochew.
Jimmy said before joining politics, his father was a school affairs officer with the Engkilili district council.
The wake service will take place at the family residence in Tabuan Jaya on Monday (Jan 24).
After that, the cortege will leave for Engkilili and later proceed with the funeral service and burial.