(Seated from fourth right) Wan Junaidi and Sultan Hassanal are seen during the burial ceremony. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Feb 22): Former Sarawak governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was laid to rest at the family cemetery of his Demak Jaya residence at Jalan Bako here today.

Sarawak’s longest serving chief minister was buried next to the grave of his first wife Datuk Patinggi Puan Sri Laila Taib.

Among the dignitaries present were Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Head of State Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, and Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Taib’s coffin arrived at the cemetery at 1.48pm after Zohor prayers at the Demak Mosque.

Grand imam Datuk Mustapha Kamal Ahmad Fauzi performed the burial rites and led the talqin prayer after the burial was completed.

The atmosphere was sombre as several people were weeping while Taib’s sons Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir and Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman poured scented water and scattered flower petals on their father’s grave.

His family members were also seen in tears as they performed the ceremony.

The demise of Taib is not only a tremendous loss for the region and Malaysia but also to him and his family, said Bekir.

Speaking to the reporters when met at the funeral ceremony today, he said his late father was an incredible father.

“He was very disciplined and strict. He was a great role model, for his achievements as well as his humility,” he said, adding that Taib was passionate about their vacation and literally worked till the end.

Bekir also said that his father’s death had elicited tributes from all dignitaries.

He also thank to the state and federal government for the assistance and

“We received many wishes from dignitaries. We would like to thank both the state and federal governments, as well as the armed forces for helping us during our difficult time,” he said.

Dubbed as the father of Modern Sarawak, Taib was the longest serving statesman in the country.

He died at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 4.40am on Wednesday.

Born on May 21, 1936, Abdul Taib was the man who shaped Sarawak’s development when he led the state as Chief Minister for 33 years.