By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 21: Former Sarawak Forest Department director Datuk Leo Chai, who had passed away yesterday, was lauded as a reputable man of high calibre in the timber industry.
Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president Datuk Richard Wee said that with Chai’s passing, the state has lost a proficient and loyal civil servant.
“He (Chai) was a close family friend as he was close to my late father as well.
“He was a loyal civil servant all his life who was diligent and knowledgeable as the former director of the Forest Department.
“I know that he had not been well for a couple of years but obviously (I) did not expect him to pass away. He will be missed,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg visited the Chai’s family to pay his last respects today.
Chai, 83, passed away yesterday, leaving behind his wife Datin Frances Chia, two children and six grandchildren.
He served as the state Forest Department director from 1986 to 1997. He was also Sarawak Timber Association (STA) chairman from 2002 to 2008 and was the first Sarawak conservator. — DayakDaily