IN both politics and sports, former Tuaran member of parliament Datuk Monggoh Orow (1990-1994) always worked like a horse to give his best for the people.
His great energy and persistence were apparent during his sporting year, where he went the extra mile in his training and emerged champion in the 400m men’s hurdles category in 1987.
Although Monggoh was a well-known politician, not many knew that he was once a sportsman and hurdles was his forte.
His wife, Datin Zoy Orow, told the New Straits Times that a state governor had once likened Monggoh’s speed in running to that of a horse in one of his hurdles competition during the state athletic championship in the 1980s.
Zoy, a Greek, met Monggoh while they were both studying in Australia and they courted in 1967 before marrying three years later.
‘While he was studying at the James Cook University, he often represented his varsity in the track and field.
‘He made a name and was much loved, respected and adored by the Australians.
‘They were very good sportsmen and he never experienced any racism.
‘He just loved sports so much that in Sabah, he volunteered to assist young athletes,’she said yesterday.
Monggoh, who had been battling lung cancer for four years, died at the Queen Elizabeth I Hospital here, on Sunday.
He was 73.
Apart from holding several senior government posts and being a politician, Monggoh was also Tuaran Athletic Club patron and Sabah Amateur Athletics Association president.
He had helped promote sportsmanship among young athletes in the state.
‘It was always his hope to see youth excel in sports.
‘Just before reaching the veteran’s age, I remember him training hard and competing in the state championship where he beat younger athletes.
‘He was very hardworking and committed that even in politics, his dream was to assist the farmers and the poor,’said Zoy.
She said Monggoh was a very respected figure and had a group of loyal people who promised to continue his legacy to assist farmers in Tuaran.
Sports runs in the family - Monggoh’s nephew Victor Suan Orow, 42, was also a state athlete.
Victor said he looked up to his uncle as a source of inspiration when it came to sports and described him as a highly disciplined sportsman.
‘He even trained during Christmas and his training paid off when he broke the record in the 400m hurdles in 1987.
‘In sports, he never failed to advise us on the do’s and don’ts.’
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, on his Facebook post, described Moggoh’s untimely passing as shocking.
‘He joined PBS in 1990 and was with us for a term.
‘I remember him as passionate and hardworking.He made a huge contribution to Sabah and Malaysia.
‘We bid goodbye to a senior politician and a good friend.
‘My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family.
‘I pray that the Almighty gives his family the strength during this trying time.
‘May his soul rest in peace.’
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organisation (Upko) president and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau expressed his condolences to the family, adding that Monggoh would be remembered for his leadership and vision.
‘He always had a soft spot for the rural folk, and in the last few years, he was the main mover of Koperasi Getah, and the preservation of his Lotud mother tongue.
‘Once, in the run-up to the general election, he said openly during a meet-the-leader session, that he would not consider contesting for the parliamentary seat then because he fully supported my candidacy and leadership.
‘Thank you, sir, for playing your role well, especially in Tuaran. You’ve left a big shoe to fill. You will be missed,’ said Tangau.
Besides being an active member of Upko, Monggoh, who was born in Tuaran, was also the president of Sabah Lotud Language Preservation Organisation.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters and three grandchildren. One is married to local celebrity Datuk Afdlin Shauki Aksan.
After his death, Monggoh’s body was taken to Kampung Tagai in Tuaran and transported to Wisma Fook Lu Siew yesterday.
The cremation is scheduled for today.