Sarawak declares two days of mourning for Taib Mahmud

KUCHING: Sarawak has declared two days of mourning - today and tomorrow – in respect of the passing of former Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud who died at 4.40 this morning in Kuala Lumpur.

Taib will be buried back home.

A statement from the State Secretary's Office stated the body of the 87 year-old Taib, who was also Sarawak's fourth Chief Minister from March 1981 to February 2014, will be flown back home.

The body is expected to arrive at the Kuching International Airport in Kuching at around 3pm today from Kuala Lumpur and from the airport brought directly to his residence in Demak Jaya at Jalan Bako.

Tomorrow, Taib's body would be taken to State Legislative Assembly for the public to pay their last respects from 8am to noon.

The body will then be brought to the Demak mosque for prayers before the burial ceremony in the family's cemetery in Demak Jaya.

Taib served for three terms as the Governor from March 1, 2014, until January 26 this year.

He was succeeded by Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Born in Miri on May 21, 1936 to carpenter Mahmud Abang Yahya and Hamidah Yakub, he had his primary education at the St Joseph's Primary School in Miri before proceeding to St Joseph's Secondary School in Kuching.

After his Senior Cambridge, Taib read law at the University of Adelaide in South Australia under a Colombo Plan Scholarship.

He returned to Sarawak and delved headlong into politics in 1963.

At 27, he was the youngest of Sarawak's first six cabinet ministers led by then chief minister Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan.

He was given the communication and works, development and forestry portfolios.

He was also a member of Parliament, when he was elected in the then Samarahan constituency in 1969.

He was drafted into the federal cabinet and held several portfolios including works, post and communication deputy minister; deputy minister in the prime minister's department; primary industries minister; and defence minister.

While still studying in Australia, he met and later married Polish-born Laila Taib in 1959.

Laila passed away in 2009 from cancer.

They had four children – Jamilah, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, and deputy economy minister Datuk Hanifah Hajar.

Taib remarried on Dec 18, 2010 to Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib.

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