“GREAT LOSS”

Born on May 21, 1936, Taib Mahmud served as Sarawak’s chief minister for 33 years.

He was appointed the seventh Yang di-Pertua Negeri – or governor – of Sarawak on Mar 1, 2014.

After almost 10 years in the position, he was replaced by Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who was sworn in on Jan 29.

Anwar expressed his condolences to the people of Sarawak.

“We, especially the people of Sarawak, lost a respected statesman,” he said in a Facebook post. 

Anwar added that Taib Mahmud’s deeds and services to the country and Sarawak would be remembered forever.

Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof described Taib Mahmud’s death as a great loss.

“His death is a great loss not only for Sarawak but also for the country. The deceased had also served as a minister at the federal level before returning to Sarawak,” he said. 

Fellow Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also expressed his condolences in a Facebook post, hailing Taib Mahmud’s important role in governing and driving the success of Sarawak.

“I have too many memories with the deceased. He was an approachable person and always concerned for the people.”

Sarawak Media Group director and political analyst Jeniri Amir described Taib Mahmud as a charismatic leader who deserves to be called Sarawak’s father of modernisation.

“He brought about changes in various fields in Sarawak which also created opportunities for education and employment, and facilitated socio-economic and educational mobility, progressing individuals from rural to urban areas,” he said.

“He developed Sarawak from a backward state to a developing state and was able to reduce the state’s poverty rate from 70 per cent to about 20 per cent.

“I think he deserves to be given the title not only as the father of development but also as the father and architect of modernisation in Sarawak because he managed to transform Sarawak into its modernised state. This is his legacy,” he added. 

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