KOTA KINABALU, Feb 16 — “I lost a friend today,” said Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, when expressing his heartfelt condolence to the family of the late Datuk Irene Benggon Charuruks, Sabah Tourism Board’s (STB) ex-general manager.
Irene, who was known as the iron lady behind Sabah Tourism Board for 25 years before her retirement in 2016, contributed a lot to the Sabah tourism industry, said Masidi during the daily Covid-19 briefing today.
“Everyone knows she contributed a lot to the development of the tourism industry in Sabah. Sabah Tourism became famous and was emulated by other states in Malaysia due to her work,” said Masidi who was the Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister for 10 years prior to the Warisan government taking over in 2018.
He described her as hardworking, active and a good and effective officer as well as a close friend.
“I lost a friend today. I express the condolence on behalf of Sabah Government to the family of Irene and wish them patience. It is a difficult period of life.
“Datuk Irene has contributed a lot to the development of tourism in Sabah. She has excelled in her service and is internationally recognized for what she has done. I hope this recognition mitigates the loss for her family,” said Masidi.
“Our deepest condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace.”
Irene passed away yesterday at 4.12pm at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. — Borneo Post Online