Former Sarawak governor Taib Mahmud passes away

SIBU: Former Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud has passed away.

In a Facebook post, his daughter Datuk Hanifah Taib said the 87-year-old breathed his last at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 4.40am on Wednesday (Feb 21).

She said his remains will be at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur before being brought back to Kuching.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said a state funeral will be held for Taib at the New Sarawak Legislative Complex.

Abdul Taib was born on May 21, 1936 in Miri, Sarawak.

After completing his secondary education, he won a Colombo Plan scholarship in 1956 to study law at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

In 1959, he married Puan Sri Laila Taib and they had four children - Jamilah Taib, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib and Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib. After Laila passed away in 2009, he married Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib in 2010.

Abdul Taib was the last surviving member of the first post-independence state cabinet formed in 1963, when he was sworn in as the youngest state minister at the age of 27.

He also served as a federal minister in various capacities for 13 years, before his appointment as Sarawak's fourth Chief Minister on March 26, 1981.

Abdul Taib was often described as the father of modern Sarawak.

As Sarawak's longest-serving chief minister from 1981 to 2014, he was instrumental in transforming Sarawak into a modern economy through what he called the "politics of development".

This policy culminated in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), which was launched by Abdul Taib in 2008 to develop an energy-intensive industrial corridor by tapping into the state's renewable energy potential.

Under Abdul Taib, the state government also invested in education and human capital, with four universities established in Sarawak during his tenure.

In addition, he fostered racial and religious tolerance in Sarawak and was committed to protecting unity and harmony among the state's various ethnic communities.

After stepping down as chief minister, Abdul Taib became the seventh Yang di-Pertua Negeri on Feb 28, 2014, succeeding Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.

He served as the head of state until Jan 26 this year.

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