Taib laid the foundation for a modern Sarawak, says Abang Jo

KUCHING: The late Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud was an institution who contributed immensely to Sarawak's development, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Sarawak Premier said the former governor and chief minister laid the foundation for Sarawak to become a modern state through his politics of development.

"As governor, he was an adviser to the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem who succeeded him as chief minister and myself.

"He gave his whole life to serve Sarawak," he said during a press conference at the Kuching International Airport on Wednesday (Feb 21).

A visibly emotional Abang Johari said he visited Taib in hospital on Tuesday (Feb 20) night and was deeply moved.

Taib, 87, passed away in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur early Wednesday.

Abang Johari also paid tribute to Taib as his mentor.

"I was taught by him since I entered politics in 1981. Together we faced challenges and stabilised the politics in Sarawak as the basis for our success now.

"He was always very generous in sharing his experience with us," he said.

Abang Johari added that Taib emphasised the importance of maintaining Sarawak's harmony.

"He also told us to be humble, to serve the people and improve their lives.

"When I was appointed as the agriculture assistant minister, he told me to help the farmers and fishermen. From that, we started the Hari Peladang event in Samarahan," he said.

Abang Johari also recalled that Taib was a fan of P. Ramlee movies because of their underlying philosophy.

"For example, he appreciated the principle of equality in "Antara Dua Darjat" and the need to treat everyone fairly," he said.

Abang Johari said the Sarawak government would accord full state honours to the late Taib in recognition of his service and contributions.

His remains will be brought to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly complex, where the public can pay their last respects from 8am to noon on Thursday (Feb 22).

After that, his remains will be brought to Masjid Demak for prayers before being laid to rest at the family cemetery at his private residence in Demak Jaya.

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