KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Behind his strict style of leadership, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud was also a generous leader who cared about the well-being of the people, especially in Sarawak.

This was disclosed by Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) secretary-general.

“Personally, I was touched by his concern when, during his final year as Sarawak chief minister, he asked me if there was anything he could do to help my constituency in Kapit, without me asking first.

“And when I applied for a piece of land to be developed, he just approved it. That’s what I mean about his true nature. He was a generous man and he did not forget those who were with him,” Nanta said when interviewed on Bernama Radio today.


Born on May 21, 1936, Abdul Taib helmed the state as chief minister for 33 years before being appointed as the 7th Governor of Sarawak on March 1, 2014.

He was succeeded by Tun Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar after almost 10 years in governor’s office.

Abdul Taib breathed his last at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 4.40am today.


Nanta, who had also served as Abdul Taib’s political secretary for seven years before, said as a veteran in politics, Abdul Taib never hesitated to share his knowledge and experiences with those who wanted or just ventured into politics.

“I vividly remember he once said that we have to be grateful and, when entrusted with a responsibility, to use the opportunity to the best of our ability to fulfil that responsibility.

“That’s his advice that I could never forget. It sounds simple but it is very relevant and important to all politicians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said Abdul Taib will be remembered as a leader who set the best example in maintaining unity as well as pioneering the way for women to have a voice in politics.

“During his tenure as chief minister, the Wanita PBB was allowed for the first time to contest in the elections because he insisted that women should be part of the decision-makers at the state and national levels.

“I was one of those (women) trained by him, that’s why we are very saddened by his demise,” said the Wanita PBB vice-chief who started her political career in 2008 as a Member of Parliament for Batang Sadong and then a Member of Parliament for Santubong since 2022.

Former minister of women, family and community development from 2013 to 2018 Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, who is now Bernas chairman, said Abdul Taib was a great leader of Sarawak who not only gave women the opportunities to venture into politics but also groomed them to be great leaders.

“He once said that he wanted to see more women leaders with strong leadership qualities like Tan Sri Rafizah Aziz (former minister of international trade and industry).

“At that time, she (Rafidah) was a highly respected leader and when Abdul Taib set such a high standard, it was seen that he was serious about wanting women not only to succeed but to have a mature attitude,” said Rohani, who is also PBB Wanita deputy chief.

Meanwhile, Dewan Negara president Datuk Mutang Tagal in a statement said Abdul Taib’s visionary leadership, dedication to public service and tireless efforts to improve the lives of the people will continue to be remembered and appreciated by generations to come.

He said Abdul Taib also played an important role in the development of various industrial parks such as Samajaya Industrial Park in addition to establishing the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCoRE) in 2008, an economic area and development corridor that includes the central rearea of Sarawak.

“Under his leadership as chief minister, Sarawak embarked on the era and journey of industrialisation. Abdul Taib also led transformation efforts in key sectors such as timber, palm oil, and forestry,” he said.

Mutang personally said he was indebted to Abdul Taib who put his trust in him to contest as Member of Parliament for Bukit Mas (now Lawas and Limbang) and served the people there until 1990.

The senator also shared on Facebook his sadness with the passing of the Father of Modern Sarawak.

“His passing is a great loss to Sarawak and the nation, his unwavering dedication and immense contributions to Sarawakians will forever be cherished and appreciated.

“Sending heartfelt condolences to his family, my fellow Sarawakians and all who were touched by his remarkable legacy. May his soul rest in peace,” he said. — Bernama