Tourism Minister: Taib built State coffers to RM30 bln, devoted life to Sarawak

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

by Marlynda Meraw

KUCHING, Feb 21: Having held the position of Sarawak Chief Minister for 33 years, the late former Governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud succeeded in increasing the State’s coffers from a few hundred million ringgit to almost RM30 billion.

In stating this, Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah commended Taib for the latter’s discretion and prudent spending.

“A lot of people who don’t like him will come up with all these negative reports about him because he held his office for too long.

“But for the 33 years that he was chief minister, you can see what took place during that period. When he came back from the Federal govt to be a minister in Sarawak, the State’s coffers at the time was only a few hundred million, and when he left, 33 years later it was almost RM30 billion. He is very careful when it comes to spending, very prudent,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily.

Reflecting on the late Taib’s efforts and contributions, he emphasised how the former Governor had been an integral part in developing Sarawak into what it is now; stabilising the State in terms of politics and unifying the multiethnic groups so that we (Sarawakians) could live harmoniously.

According to him, it would be difficult for anyone to measure the late Taib’s contributions to the State considering how long the latter had dedicated himself to public service since the year 1963 until last year January, without any breaks throughout that period of service.

“There was no breaks in the time when he (late Taib) served in public office, whether it was as State minister or Federal minister, and upon his return, he served as chief minister. He then continued as the Governor after 33 years,” Abdul Karim told DayakDaily.

He remarked that the late Taib’s political journey began at Sebandi (presently known as Asajaya), a constituency in which the former is currently holding since the year 2001 when he succeeded the position.

“I will be very much affected because I’ve served him for 11 years as a political secretary,” Abdul Karim stated, adding that he had viewed the late Taib as not only a mentor and leader, but also as a father figure.

Abdul Karim conveyed his deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Taib’s wife, Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib as well as the family members.

Taib, who served as Sarawak’s chief minister for over three decades, passed away at the age of 87 earlier this morning at a Kuala Lumpur private hospital. A state funeral will be held for him at the New Sarawak Legislative Complex. — DayakDaily