[VIDEO] Sarawak’s leaders, citizens pay final respects to late Taib at state funeral

Sarawakians unite in solemn remembrance at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to honour the legacy of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Feb 22: Today, amidst a sombre atmosphere, the people of Sarawak, along with dignitaries, heads of departments, cabinet members, friends, and family, gathered at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) atrium at Petra Jaya here to honour the legacy of Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, the former Head of State (TYT).

The body of the late Taib arrived at the DUN atrium at approximately 7.50am, following its journey from his residence in Demak Jaya.

Accompanied by his grieving wife, Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib, the procession into the DUN building was a solemn affair, reflecting the profound loss felt by all.

Prominent figures such as TYT Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg were among the dignitaries who gathered to bid farewell to Taib, underscoring the significance of his contributions to the State.

Raghad (seated front row, fourth left) mourns the loss of her husband, Taib, surrounded by family and loved ones.
Abang Johari (sixth left) and other dignitaries gather to pay their last respects to Taib.

The State Honouring Ceremony, which commenced at 8am and was extended till 11.30am, provided a formal platform for dignitaries and the public alike to express their gratitude and bid farewell to a statesman whose contributions had left an indelible mark on Sarawak’s history.

Deputy Premier of Sarawak Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian (front row, fourth left) and other dignitaries gather to pay their last respects to Taib.
Deputy Premier of Sarawak Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (front row, second left) flanked by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng (front row, third left) on his left, and other dignitaries gather to pay their last respects to Taib.
Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng extends heartfelt condolences to Raghad, offering solace during a moment of grief.
Scout association members salute the late Taib, honouring his legacy of leadership and service.
A dignitary shares in the sorrow of Taib’s passing, offering solace to a grieving family member.

At 11.35am, following the conclusion of the ceremony, the late Taib’s body was respectfully taken out of the DUN building.

The solemn occasion was marked by a volley of 87 cannon shots, reverberating through the air as a final salute to the departed leader. These shots, fired from 12 cannon barrels at Fort Margherita by the 8th Regiment of Royal Artillery, served as a poignant tribute to Taib’s contributions and stature.

Following the ceremonial proceedings, his hearse proceeded to Masjid Demak here, where funeral prayers would be held before he was laid to rest at the family cemetery in Demak Jaya after Zohor prayers.

Mohamad Suhartini, a 50-year-old local resident, shared with DayakDaily during an interview that he experienced deep emotions upon learning about the passing of Taib.

He then made the decision to drive from his ‘kampung’ (village), located an hour away, to attend the State Honouring Ceremony today as a way to pay his final respects to the former TYT.

“It is difficult to find a leader of his calibre who is recognised as an ‘Anak Sarawak’. As citizens, we must pay our respects on his final day because he has made significant contributions to both Sarawak and Malaysia,” he said.

Reflecting on his personal encounter with Taib, Suhartini recalled their meeting at a mosque in Kuching just last year. Despite noting Taib’s frail appearance at the time, Suhartini expressed gratitude for the opportunity to have interacted with him.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet and greet him,” he added, underscoring the impact Taib had on individuals like himself, who revered the former TYT for his leadership, dedication, and service to the community.

Mohamad Suhartini

Meanwhile, Catherine Sendon, an administrative officer at the Department Of Agriculture Sarawak (DOA), commented that Taib was an affectionate person.

“He can be seen as a fatherly figure in his role as the leader of the people, displaying caring and nurturing qualities when interacting with his public servants.

“Upon learning about his passing yesterday morning, I felt deeply saddened. I last saw Tun in January 2022 at the State Government Medal Presentation Ceremony in Astana,” she told DayakDaily.

Catherine Sendon

Taib passed away at 4.28am at the Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur Hospital (CVSKL) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (Feb 21). He was 87. — DayakDaily