KOTA KINABALU, April 18 — The passing of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup who died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur tonight is a big loss to his state Sabah which he had served with distinction.

Joseph, 79, born in Tambunan on December 15, 1944, has a legal background, a Diploma in Public Administration from Institut Teknologi MARA, a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of London, as well as a Barrister-at-Law in Inner Temple London.

In the political arena, he joined Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and his political career began in 1985 when he won the Sook state seat in the Sabah state election and a year later became the party’s secretary-general.

Kurup who served five terms (1985-1994) as the Sook state assemblyman under PBS, set up Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and became its president in 1994.


Joseph was the founding member and first president of PBRS, which was a Barisan Nasional component party from 1994 to 2023.

Under the PBRS ticket, he returned as the state assemblyman for Sook in 2004 and was elected as the Member of Parliament for Pensiangan for two terms (2008 to 2013).

In his illustrious career, he held various positions including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development.


The Pensiangan, Keningau native had also served as Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, State Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, State Minister of Communications and Works, State Minister of Finance, State Minister of Industrial Development, State Minister of Resource Development and Enterprise and State Minister of Youth and Sports.

His son Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup who was fielded in Pensiangan continued his father’s legacy and has defended the seat twice, in the 2018 and 2022 general elections and replaced the late Kurup as PBRS president in January 2023.

In 2014, the government had agreed to appoint two ministers to handle the funeral process of Malaysians who were killed when Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine last July 17 and Kurup was in charge of the funeral process for non-Muslims.

Kurup is survived by his wife Puan Sri Melinda Mak Soak Fong, son Arthur and five more children. — Bernama