Premier: Both Sarawak, Azerbaijan govts deploy jets to bring late Mutang Tagal home

Abang Johari (4th right), Juma'ani (6th right) and others paying their last respects to the late Datuk Mutang Tagal at BEM Airport Road Church in Miri on May 12, 2024. Photo credit: Ukas

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 12: Upon the family’s request, both the Sarawak and Azerbaijan governments deploy their respective air transport in bringing the late Dewan Negara Speaker Datuk Mutang Tagal home to Malaysia when he was hospitalised in the foreign country.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed this to the press when asked about the details of the late Mutang’s return trip by a reporter during the funeral wake ceremony held at Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) Airport Road Church in Miri today.


“At that time, it was the wish of Mutang’s family to bring him home to receive further treatment in Malaysia and the Prime Minister (Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim) had informed me to make arrangements on this matter.

“Thus, the Sarawak government has decided to send an ambulance jet to bring him back to the country,” he said.

At the same time, Abang Johari said the Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev had also offered a jet courtesy from the Azerbaijan government.

“Our (Sarawak) plane would take a long time to fly to Baku, but since the Azerbaijan government has offered (us) to use the presidential jet, we then used both air transports during the moment,” he added.

This doorstep interview was recorded in an audio recording shared by Sarawak Public Communication Unit (UKAS) in a WhatsApp group with the media today.

Mutang passed away at 11.46am on Friday (May 10) while being hospitalised at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur since May 6.

He reportedly fell seriously ill during a working trip to Azerbaijan and had to be admitted to a hospital there.

He had to cut his trip short and returned to Malaysia at 1am on Monday (May 6), where he was admitted to IJN for further treatment.

On behalf of the Sarawak government, Abang Johari expressed sympathy on the loss of a Sarawak leader who has contributed a lot to the region and Malaysia.

“To us, we have known the late Mutang Tagal back in the 80s when he was elected as an MP for Bukit Mas. Within his tenure of two terms, he has contributed a lot not only to his constituency but as a Sarawak representative in the Dewan Rakyat.

“Mutang was also a senior leader in Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) who continued to contribute to PBB and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) despite no longer being an elected representative.

“That is why when his predecessor, Tun Pehin Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, resigned from the Dewan Negara president post to become Sarawak Governor, we in GPS had proposed to the Prime Minister to nominate him (Mutang) to replace Wan Junaidi.

“It was unfortunate that the late Mutang was only able to serve for a short time,” he shared.

Earlier, Abang Johari and wife Puan Sri Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang paid their last respects to the late Mutang Tagal.

Amongst those present were Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki and Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala. – DayakDaily