Taib's son shares fond memories of his late father

KUCHING: Sarawak's former governor and the longest-serving Chief Minister the late Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud was very committed to his work but always carved out time for his family, according to his son Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.

He recalled that his father always came back late from work and the task of looking after him and his siblings was mainly shouldered by their mother, the late Datuk Patinggi Laila Taib.

However, Mahmud Abu Bekir said no matter how tired Abdul Taib was, he would try to spend time with his children.

"This is something we all remember. Whenever he came back his face looked tired. Yet, he got time to take us to see a movie or something like that," he told reporters after Abdul Taib was laid to rest with full state honours at the family cemetery in Demak Jaya here on Thursday (Feb 22).

Mahmud Abu Bekir said his father would fall asleep while watching a Wuxia sword-fighting movie in the cinema.

"He was tired but because of his love for us, he was willing to spend time with us even though he fell asleep," he said with a laugh.

He said his father was also a disciplinarian but feared taking care of toddlers as he was not good at changing diapers or feeding babies.

Asked about important advice from his father, Mahmud Abu Bekir said Abdul Taib always told him and his siblings to work hard and that there was no excuse for them not to do so.

"But there was also a soft side to him. He said okay, you may fail but you know that it is more important that you know how to get up again when you fall.

"The lesson is not running or standing tall but getting up is the lesson. I think it happened to my father in politics," he said.

Mahmud Abu Bekir said his father travelled a lot because he had also held ministerial posts at the federal level.

"Growing up with him was a great experience," he said.

Abdul Taib was buried next to the grave of his first wife Laila, who died of cancer on April 29, 2009.

Earlier, Abdul Taib’s body was taken to the State Legislative Assembly building for a lying-in-state to allow members of the public, dignitaries and Cabinet members to pay their last respects. Funeral prayers were held at the Demak Mosque near his residence.

Abdul Taib, also known as the Father of Modern Sarawak, breathed his last at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 4.40am on Wednesday (Feb 21).

The state government has declared a two-day mourning period, with flags to be flown at half-mast throughout Sarawak and all entertainment events postponed. - Bernama

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