Aircraft carrying the body of Abdul Taib Mahmud lands at Kuching International Airport, state to observe two days of mourning

Photo of the late Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud courtesy of Ukas FB.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21: The aircraft carrying the body of Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud landed at the Kuching International Airport at 4.25 pm, Malaysian National News Agency, BERNAMA reported.

The former Chief Minister, who was also Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sarawak died at a hospital here at 4.40am this morning. He was 87.

A state funeral will be held for the late Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud tomorrow with two days of mourning starting today, the Malay Mail reported meanwhile, citing the Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas).

Ukas said the former head of state’s body will be brought to the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex tomorrow where the public can pay their last respects from 8am to 11.30am.

“Following that, the body will be brought to the Demak Mosque near his residence for prayers before the burial at the family’s cemetery in Demak Jaya,” it added.

Meanwhile, condolences have been pouring in since the news of the late leader of Sarawak’s death.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian said that Sarawak has lost another great figure in the political arena.

“Tun Abdul Taib was my late father’s political partner, chief of his Cabinet, a family friend and Sarawak Heart Foundation chairman.  

“Thirty-three years of Tun’s Chief Ministership resulted in not just political stability but social and religious harmony in Sarawak. Thanks for all your contributions to Sarawak Tun,” he said in a Facebook post. 

Dr Sim said Abdul Taib was the main initiator responsible for the relocation of the cardiac service from Sarawak General Hospital to Kota Samarahan, now known as the Sarawak Heart Centre, in 2001.

Minister of Women, Early Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Sarawak Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah hailed Abdul Taib as a statesman and outstanding leader due to his contributions to the progress of the state.

“He was a leader who laid a strong foundation for unity in Sarawak, physical and human development, as well as women’s empowerment,” said the Dalat assemblyman in a statement.

Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said that the entire population of the state mourned the passing of the father of modern Sarawak.

“It’s a sad day for the people of Sarawak. May Allah shower His mercy on Tun and classify him among His righteous. Tun had rendered immense services to Sarawak. Your contributions will be remembered Tun,” she said.