Connect with us


Former Sarawak Governor and CM Taib Mahmud passed away at age 87

Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, former Sarawak Governor and Chief Minister, passed away at 87 in a Kuala Lumpur hospital on 21 Feb. Known as the father of modern Sarawak, he faced past corruption allegations, cleared by MACC in 2014.



KUCHING, MALAYSIA: Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, former Sarawak Governor and Chief Minister (CM) passed away at the age of 87 in a Kuala Lumpur hospital on Wednesday (21 Feb) morning, as confirmed by Sarawak Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The news of Abdul Taib’s demise was also verified by Nurr Shaffique Abdul Karim, Private Secretary to Deputy Minister of Economy Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.

In a morning post on Hanifah Hajar’s social media site, she announced, “Hanifah Hajar’s beloved father, Tun Abdul Taib, returned to his Creator at about 4.40 am today. ”

“The remains will be taken to the National Mosque, Kuala Lumpur, and then brought back to Kuching, Sarawak.”

In 2023, Tun Taib underwent surgery for complications arising from colon cancer in Istanbul, Turkey.

In January 2024, allegations surfaced that his wife, Ragad, forcibly removed him from the ICU of a private hospital in Kuching. These claims were refuted by both Ragad and the police.

Ragad coordinated Taib’s discharge with the attending doctor, who deemed him fit to travel to Cardiac Vascular Sentral in Kuala Lumpur. Despite rumours, Taib received continued care at his residence in Kuching on 7 Feb, before being transferred to Kuala Lumpur for further treatment.

Longest-serving Chief Minister in Malaysia

Born on 21 May 1936 in Miri, Sarawak, Abdul Taib served as the Chief Minister of Sarawak for 33 years.

On 1 March 2014, he assumed the role of the seventh Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sarawak, succeeding Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.

After nearly a decade in office, he was succeeded by Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who was sworn in as the Yang Dipertua Negeri on 29 January, replacing Abdul Taib.

There is no doubt that Abdul Taib Mahmud left an enduring mark on the Sarawak.

Previously, Abdul Taib was the sole political figure from the era of Malaysia’s establishment who remained alive and had been a part of the Sarawak Cabinet formed on 22 July 1963.

Known affectionately to locals as “Pak Uban,” translating to “Uncle White Hair,” and to the Chinese community as “Pek Moh,” or “White Hair.”

Having held the position of Chief Minister of Sarawak since 1981, he holds the record for being the longest-serving Chief Minister / Menteri Besar in Malaysia.

Abdul Taib won a Colombo Plan scholarship in 1956 after completing secondary education 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’s passing in 2009, he married Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib in 2010.

Often referred to as the father of modern Sarawak, he played a crucial role in transforming Sarawak into a modern economy through his “politics of development” approach.

This approach reached its pinnacle with the launch of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in 2008. SCORE aimed to develop an energy-intensive industrial corridor by harnessing the state’s renewable energy potential, as envisioned by Abdul Taib.

Controversies surrounding Taib Mahmud’s tenure

However, Tun Taib also faced accusations of being responsible for the environmental destruction that occurred in Sarawak during his tenure as CM.

Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser personally held Taib responsible for the destruction of Sarawak rainforests.

According to a series of leaked US embassy cables published in August 2011, Taib and his relatives were widely believed to have extracted a percentage from most major commercial contracts, including logging contracts, awarded in Sarawak.

With tight control over the logging industry, Taib Mahmud allegedly utilized timber concessions for personal and family enrichment, contributing to the accelerated pace of logging in Sarawak.

Allegations suggested that Taib favoured his family members in various business appointments within Sarawak.

As of February 2014, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no evidence that Taib had abused his political office for corruption.

The approval of land and logging areas was attributed to Taib’s senior ministers or the Sarawak cabinet rather than Taib himself.

In 2019, then-Pakatan Harapan Law Minister Liew Vui Keong asserted that there was no new evidence warranting the reopening of MACC investigations against Taib Mahmud.

Mr Liew acknowledged that MACC had received information from the whistleblower website Sarawak Report and environmental NGO Bruno Manser Fund.

However, he noted that this information resembled the details from the previous investigation paper opened by MACC.

At the time, Liew emphasized that there would be no obstruction for MACC to reopen its investigation if new evidence emerged.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments